The caper (Capparis spinosa) is a shrub that grows in the arid areas of the Mediterranean and, to a lesser extent, in the semi-arid areas of the interior of the Iberian Peninsula. It is a perennial, deciduous, thorny shrub, which makes it difficult to harvest exclusively by hand. It grows spontaneously in arid, stony, limestone and clay soils, and is not always easy to cultivate.
In the municipality of Ballobar, located in the Autonomous Community of Aragon, the harvesting of capers is a traditional activity. It probably began with the Muslim occupation and made this village, on the edge of Europe’s largest desert, the Monegros, famous. It is said that these capers were given to the Russian Tsar in exchange for caviar.
Since the 1980s, the harvesting of capers for commercial purposes has stopped due to competition from intensively cultivated capers in Andalusia and North Africa, and they only survive for self-consumption.
Recently, their distinctive characteristics have meant that these wild capers, which grow far from the Mediterranean, are once again in demand.
It is a unique product closely linked to the local territory: the bushes grow wild only on south-facing scree in a very limited area around the village.
The bud of the Ballobar caper (caper) is harvested before flowering together with the fruit (caperran); both are preserved in brine and are a high quality gastronomic product with a distinctive tenderness and fragrance.
There are currently two people, members of the Association of Organic Producers of Monegros, who are working to recover and expand knowledge of this product. They are assisted by around twenty women from the village who, from dawn to dusk in the months of June to September, dedicate themselves to the demanding task of picking buds and fruit from these thorny shrubs.
It is a Presidium of the Slow Food Ark of Taste.
A real pleasure for the taste buds since 1954.
Ingredients: Ballobar capers
It is sold in a 40 gr bottle for the final consumer.
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