Taming the "Capparis Spinosa"

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Caper - the Capparis Spinosa - can be found in most Mediterranean islands - dependant as it is on the Med's sea and warm climate. It was even mentioned by the Greek Dioscorides as a marketable product in ancient Greece.

Driving along a countryside road you are bound to come across caper growing at the side of the road, typically hanging of precariously arranged rock. And later in May you are bound to come across someone who has parked precariously by the side to pick-up some fresh capers for that day's salad. They find dozens of uses in Sicilian cooking from the "stimpirata" - a rabbit sweet and sour dish - to the more famous "caponata". Their sharp piquant flavour and saltiness adds some unique characteristics to any dish.

The most famous Sicilian capers are not even produced in Sicily but a small island that belongs to the region of Sicily - Pantelleria. Its rocky surface and unique microclimate provide fertile ground for the wild delicacy. Just one more proof of the difficulty of growing capers and getting them just right.

But in recent years the "Gli Aromi" nursery, close to the town of Scicli and within the province of Ragusa has been hard at work to make capers a plant that Sicilians can enjoy even in their gardens. Not an easy task as the caper plant is notoriously unaccommodating to any attempt to temper it, happiest in the wild. However, the beauty of its flowers made the challenge all the more worth it and the results are now enjoyed by many.

The nursery is now famous all over Italy for offering caper plants that will flourish in Mediterranean gardens provided the right care is given to them and they collaborate with some of the most famous Italian Chefs, such as the 2-Michelin Star Ciccio Sultano of the "Il Duomo" restaurant in Ragusa Ibla.

In addition, "Gli Aromi" also continues its tradition of offering dozens of other plants in may different varieties. From basil, thyme, oregano, to green tea and different types of chilli plants it has become a calling point for all garden lovers in the South of Sicily.

A visit of their nursery in April or May reveals just how much diversity there is in terms of plants A good selection will mean that you will not have to buy herbs from a store until late into autumn. Just collected from the pots as needed!

Caper - the Capparis Spinosa - can be found in most Mediterranean islands - dependant as it is on the Med’s sea and warm climate. It was even mentioned by the Greek Dioscorides as a marketable product in ancient Greece.
Herbal Heals

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