Gargano's capers

Native variety of the Gargano, the Capparis spinosa looks bushy, with slender branches and pendulous with thick rounded leaves. The buds are deep green, similar to peas but larger. Once they are harvested, they are left to mature in brine, covered in sea salt and stirred for a few days. The widespread presence of limestone cliffs makes the caper a very common species in the Gargano area.

Here the plant grows in the Mediterranean maquis, pine forests and often on the dry walls of the olive grove terraces. There is not even a real cultivation but rather a harvest of the product which grows spontaneously, combined with small pruning interventions and the elimination of herbs which hinder the harvesting operation. Areas close to the sea are particularly suited for the production of capers. The harvesting goes from the end of May to mid-September, period during which the buds are picked, washed and salted. In the village of Mattinata common the terminal jets of the plant (tops of the capers) are also harvested by cutting tender twigs to a length of around 10-15 cm, following tradition.

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