What is Caper Brine?

Have you ever seen small buds pickled in salt or vinegar used in cooking stews, appetizers, salads, or multiple sources? Are you curious about the little olive-like edible unripened buds used in exotic recipes? Those are capers, yes right! But the question arising here is, what is caper brine? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!

If you have ever gone to a grocery store for buying capers, you must have seen that all of them are stored in jars, but there is something else in it as well. What’s that liquid? You are guessing the right answer! The solution in which capers and stored to enhance the shelf-life and flavor of the natural buds is known as caper brine. Wondering more about capers and caper brine; let’s have a look. In this article, we are going to discuss everything related to caper brine and its uses.

what is caper brine

Caper brine:

Capers are usually associated with Mediterranean dishes specifically Italian cuisines and are used in some parts of Asia as well. Initially, it is an unripened bud that undergoes some processes to achieve the desired tangy taste and aroma. First, the buds are sun-dried and then stored in a brine solution with vinegar and salt into it.

Not only the caper brine turns these green pea-like small buds a little crispy from the outside but adds a lemon-like flavor to it as well. In short, capers can not be used immediately after picking as they require some processes to develop flavor. Without the processes, they may taste bitter.

How are capers preserved in caper brine?

To store capers in the brine solution, the first thing you need is a glass bottle. Put all the capers in the bottle or jar and add salt water brine to it. The saltwater brine works as a taste developer as well as a preservative. It is a really easy method that can be done at home by yourself, but there can be a chance of ruining the flavor if not processed properly. Usually, the same process is done on the larger scales and the capers are then referred to as brined capers.

Composition of caper brine:

Naturally, capers are low-calorie edible plants that don’t add a lot to your diet plan or calorie count, but they are high in vitamins and minerals. On top of it, brine adds quite a significant amount of additional sodium in it. So, if you are on a sodium-restrictive diet, brined capers may not be the best thing for you.

Now you must be wondering what ingredients are used to make a caper brine, aren’t you? We’ve got you covered! Caper brine is not far different from ordinary brines, but for a better understanding, let’s have a quick look at the ingredients.

First, you have to take a glass jar and add half a cup of apple cider vinegar to it. Then, put an equal amount of water in it to balance the pH. Lastly, add 1 tablespoon of salt in it for a mouth-watering flavor, and let the brine rest for 2-3 days. Taste it afterward to check whether it’s fine or not.

Where to store caper brine?

Capers that are not brined are okay to store in the pantry, but brined capers require different conditions. Caper brine can be stored in the refrigerator at least for nine months without any risk of developing a different taste. Just make sure that the capers are completely submerged in the brine solution also, that you are using an airtight jar. If the caper starts getting dark in color, it means there’s some problem with the caper brine.

Other uses of caper brine:

The primary yet most important advantage or use of caper brine is to increase the shelf-life of the capers. But this isn’t it; the caper brine comes with a lot of other uses as well. The apple cider vinegar enhances the flavor of the capers making them not only edible but delicious.

Moreover, the most exciting thing about caper brine is that you can add it to different recipes for sharpening the taste and aroma of the dish you make. Commonly, it goes the best with shrimps and other seafood with its salty and lemon-like taste. Last but not the least, if you are out of capers before 9 months, you can simply preserve other food items like onions or olives to make use of the caper brine. Innovative, isn’t it? You bet!

Alternate caper brine:

Although capers are originally fruits, they are picked before even ripening. Hence, one cannot expect them to be sweet and use them in sweet dishes. Many of you wouldn’t like to taste an earthy-flavored bud instead of something more exotic and delicious. For those people, there are some alternatives to brined capers that taste much better. The most common one is using green olives stored in water instead of caper brines. Others may include anchovies, Artichoke hearts, Caper berries, thyme, green peppercorns, Pickles, lemon, etc.

What if capers are preserved without brine?

If you are not using caper brine to preserve capers, they will hardly remain fresh and edible for around 2 weeks as they are pickled. They will become extremely sour and impossible to eat. Hence, it is important to dip them in a jar with caper brine and refrigerate them for better taste. If not, the high stores of mustard oil will not let you eat it.

Recipes in which caper brines can be used:

The leftover caper brine can be added to different recipes to enhance the flavor, or you can simply just add them along with the capers as well. Excited to know which recipes can cater to this ingredient. Have a look!

  • Broiled Tuna With Lemon Caper Sauce
  • Chicken Piccata
  • Smoked salmon
  • Spaghetti Alla puttanesca
  • Tahini Caper Salad Dressing
  • Veal Scallopini With Lemon and Capers
  • Tuna Melt sandwich

Other ways to preserve capers:

If you want to consume capers, but in a way that they are not preserved in caper brine, the following are the alternative ways to preserve them:

  • Dehydrated Capers:

Another method used for preserving capers instead of brine is dehydration and the dehydrated capers are also referred to as dry capers. These capers are costly as compared to the others. The very first step in this process is to salt the capers and then put them out to dry for almost a month. When the capers turn nice crispy and crunchy, they are ready to use in various dishes. This method was one of the least used methods as it is time-consuming, but now people use ovens to dry them as an alternative to save time.

  • Oil-Packed Capers:

Oil is a natural food preservative. Oil when used to preserve food, acts as a barrier against moisture. As the title itself tells, in this method, capers are stored in a container and are packed only with extra virgin olive oil. This way, they remain fresh and add more flavor to your food.

  • Salt-Cured Capers:

Last but not the least, salt-cured capers are one of the best-flavored capers. Salt is the main preservative in this process as it has been used as a preservative for ages. In this process, the capers are packed up with sea salt reaching every piece of capers. But if you leave them over time, the capers will dry out. Capers which are not dried out is a good sign when salt-cured.


Just like capers are used in several Mediterranean dishes, caper brine can be used in several recipes for a better taste. It is either made with white wine with apple cider vinegar and salt or simply water with the latter two ingredients. In any way, it makes the capers edible and increases their shelf life from two weeks to 1-2 years. You can simply buy brined capers from the condiments section of your grocery store.


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