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The capers of the isle of Salina
Perennial shrub of tropical origin, caper is diffused in the Mediterranean area, in Sicily it is cultivated most of all in Pantelleria and Salina islands.
Both places asserted themselves as quality centers of Italian production, caper is integrated in the landscapes and, until the tourism arrive, it constituted the local pulling motor of the economy.
The most cultivated caper is the Tondina (or Nocellara) because it produces firmer and heavier capers. The harvest takes place from May to August.
Afterwards the harvest the capers are spread in order to dry on juta burlaps to prevent them from blooming, then the capers are separatet from bigger ones, larger buttons on the point to bloom. Then a salting process occurs (alternating a layer of capers to a layer of sea-salt) usually putting them in stalks ("cugniettu"), or in "tinedde" obtained from old half barrels.
After four or five days the capers are poured from a container to another in order to avoid that the combined action of salt and heat, dued to fermentations,might waste them. After approximately a month they are ready for use.