1. A trick, of easy accomplisment 2. A professional theft or fraud. "I was knocked out (arrested) on a caper in Boston, laying paper (passing bad checks)."

- american underworld dictionary - 1950

These pungent little green globes often served with smoked salmon but gracing many other delicious Mediterranean dishes are the preserved immature buds of a white flower that grows on a thorny bush native to the Mediterranean and parts of Asia. If you were to eat a freshly picked caper bud it would apparently be extremely bitter. Instead, they are usually sun-dried and pickled in a vinegar brine, though you may find them packed in salt.

Tiny nonpareil capers (about the size of a black peppercorn) from France are generally considered to be the best; those from Italy can be bigger, about the size of the tip of your little finger. Caperberries are picked when mature, so are larger than capers; they have stems and can be the size of a cocktail olive.

Rinse and drain capers before using them to remove excess saltiness or brininess.

gwenllian tells me that pickled nasturtium buds are very similar to capers, so perhaps you can make your own!

Ca"per (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Capered p. pr. & vb. n. capering.] [From older capreoll to caper, cf. F. se cabrer to prance; all ultimately fr. L. caper, capra, goat. See Capriole.]

To leap or jump about in a sprightly manner; to cut capers; to skip; to spring; to prance; to dance.

He capers, he dances, he has eyes of youth. Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ca"per, n.

A frolicsome leap or spring; a skip; a jump, as in mirth or dancing; a prank.

To cut a caper, to frolic; to make a sportive spring; to play a prank.

Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ca"per, n. [D. kaper.]

A vessel formerly used by the Dutch, privateer.

Wright.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ca"per, n. [F. capre, fr. L. capparis, Gr. ; cf. Ar. & Per. al-kabar.]

1.

The pungent grayish green flower bud of the European and Oriental caper (Capparis spinosa), much used for pickles.

2. Bot.

A plant of the genus Capparis; -- called also caper bush, caper tree.

The Capparis spinosa is a low prickly shrub of the Mediterranean coasts, with trailing branches and brilliant flowers; -- cultivated in the south of Europe for its buds. The C. sodada is an almost leafless spiny shrub of central Africa (Soudan), Arabia, and southern India, with edible berries.

Bean caper. See Bran caper, in the Vocabulary. -- Caper sauce, a kind of sauce or catchup made of capers.

 

© Webster 1913.

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