The Proper Way To Store Capers And How To Tell They've Gone Bad

Tiny and green yet mighty in flavor, capers are the unripe flower buds of the flinders rose, or Capparis spinosa bush, and are typically brined in vinegar or packed in salt. From being a star ingredient in chicken piccata and pasta puttanesca to a topping for pizza and popcorn, capers can easily elevate a wide range of dishes by adding a delicious burst of briny goodness. They're also delicious on their own as a crunchy snack when crisped up in the air fryer or fried in the microwave. Capers are a staple you should always keep in your pantry and, given their versatility, you'll probably finish a jar before too long. However, like all good things, there is a limit to how long capers are good for as well as a proper way to store them. Here's what you need to know.

Store unopened, brine-packed jars of capers in the pantry for up to two years. Once opened, you should store capers in the fridge, where they should be good for up to a year. Salt-packed capers can be stored at room temperature for up to six months and in the fridge for up to two years. Before using any capers, check for signs of spoilage, which can include changes in color or appearance, mold, and an unpleasant smell.

Storage and spoilage tips

The pantry is a great place to store capers, but make sure the temperature doesn't fluctuate too much and remains under 75 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. Before opening, check to make sure that the lid is still on properly and hasn't developed a dome or rounded shape, which could indicate that the jar wasn't sealed properly. If you open a new jar of capers and don't hear a pop, the safety seal has been broken. In either case, it's better to throw the jar out than risk eating spoiled capers.

Once the jar of capers has been opened, keep the capers submerged under the liquid (typically vinegar) they came in to maximize their shelf life. Before using, check the appearance and smell. Capers are naturally green; if they turn white, brown, or black, or you see any white, brown, or black specks or spots (aside from any added spices), then the capers have likely spoiled. Likewise, if you smell anything other than salt and vinegar (or that of any added spices), or there's an unpleasant smell, then the capers have spoiled and should be thrown out.