Do Capers Go Bad? How Long Do Capers Last?

Do Capers Go Bad

Found an old can of capers in your pantry and wondering if it is safe to consume? Or did you bulk-buy them and look for the best way to store them? Are capers safe to eat after their date of expiration? Either way, we got ya!

Capers are fleshy buds that can stay fresh and maintain their peak quality even after their best-by date. If stored in proper conditions, these green buds can last for almost 2 years without any issues.

In this article, we will discuss in detail the various factors that can impact the shelf life of brined capers. We have also cumulated a guideline to help you inspect the jar of capers before consuming them to prevent unwanted health hazards.

How long do capers last?

How long do capers last?

Capers are seasoning plants that can stay flavorful for a long time if stored in the right conditions.
Room Temperature

Capers can be stored at room temperature, less than 90° Fahrenheit, for a year as long as the packaging remains intact. Since these jars are vacuum sealed, you should hear a popping sound when you open them for the first time.

However, before keeping it on your pantry shelf, ensure it is clean and dry and not in the range of direct sunlight.
Since these fruit buds are pickled in vinegar, they can last for a long time since vinegar is antibacterial.


Once the jar is opened, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator to prevent the growth and proliferation of microbes. Capers remain fresh for a year after opening when kept between 35° Fahrenheit and 38° Fahrenheit.


Capers can be frozen for about 1 year without noticing any spoilage as long they are stored in air-tight containers to prevent interaction with ice crystals and protect these fruits from freezer burns.


Can you eat capers after their date of expiry?

If you have purchased a jar of capers, you will find best by date or best-before date printed on the back of the jar or the sides.

As per the USDA, this date does not mean that the food item cannot be consumed after that. The date printed is a prediction made by the manufacturer to ensure that the food item will remain at its peak quality if consumed within that time frame.

Hence, you can eat capers one year after their best-by date as long as it was stored under the ideal conditions without noticing any significant change in the taste and texture of these tangy fruit buds.

How to know if capers have gone bad

How to know if capers have gone bad

The fleshy green leaves can stay fresh and flavorful for a long time; however, it is imperative to store them in a cool and dry place in your pantry if the jar is unopened.

However, if you are still apprehensive about consuming these vegetables, you can self-evaluate the jar by using the following guidelines before discarding them.

Packaging Damage

These fleshy green leaves are usually packed in transparent containers with air-tight lids. The leaves are dunked in salt or vinegar solution to pickle them. The packaging should stay intact as long as the jar isn’t opened because it is vacuum sealed.

If the lid is dented or damaged, the vacuum seal is likely broken, and many airborne pathogens may have entered the brined solution. Hence, it is best to discard such a bottle.

Furthermore, since they are generally available in glass containers, closely inspect for leakages or cracks before using these capers in your recipe.

Freezer Burns

If capers are frozen, checking for freezer burns before eating them is a good idea. Freezer burns are formed when the food item is not stored under ideal conditions, due to which ice crystals are formed on the food surface. They appear in the form of white patches.

Although these patches do not indicate spoilage, freezer burns can significantly impact these buds’ overall taste and texture. These ice crystals may melt during thawing, diluting the taste and making the texture mushy, which may be a turn-off for many.


Since these buds are stored in a solution of vinegar or salt, it is not habitable for most microbes. However, the fungus can start increasing in them as long as they have ample moisture.

Hence, if you notice white, black, or dark green spots on the buds or inside the liquid, it may be due to fungus infestation.

In such a situation, It is best to discard the bottle without attempting to revive it.


Capers have a vibrant green color. If they are stored for a long time, the color gets darker. Hence, if you notice any visible color change, it may indicate that the capers have gotten old.

Furthermore, if you notice black, brown, or white spots on them, they are not edible, so refrain from eating them.


Capers have a soft and plush texture due to the brining. If you notice a layer of slime on it or if it is too mushy, it may be because it is old. As long as it tastes fine, you can consume them.


Capers taste like olives with a tartiness of vinegar. Even though they should have a bold salt flavor, they should not be excessively bitter or have a sour aftertaste.

If you notice any funny taste, it’s best to discard it.


Capers have a lovely smell of salt and a bold whiff of vinegar. If you notice any odd sweet smell or foul smell, it may be due to spoilage. Hence, it is always a good idea to give them a sniff before trying to eat them.


Best way to store capers for an extended shelf life

If you are looking for the best method to store capers to ensure they remain free from contaminants for a long time, here are some tips that can help.

Tip 1: Before storing the bottle of capers in the pantry, clean the surface to ensure that it is free from dust and moisture.

Tip 2: Since these green buds are immersed in liquid vinegar for pickling, avoid keeping them under direct sunlight.

Tip 3: Even if you intend to leave them on your pantry shelf for years, make sure you regularly wipe down the jar’s exterior with a dry paper towel to avoid the buildup of moisture, dust, and mites.

Tip 4: While storing it in the fridge, keep it on the inner shelf of the fridge to limit temperature variations.

Tip 5: Use a clean, dry spoon each time you intend to eat capers to scoop out the desired amount. When finished, tightly shut the lid to avoid exposure to airborne contaminants.

Tip 6: While freezing capers for a long time, divide them into more minor potions to prevent the constant freezing and thawing of the entire lot.


Health hazards of consuming spoilt capers

Consuming spoilt capers may not cause severe or detrimental health issues as long as it is free from molds. After consuming rotten green buds, some symptoms you may notice are stomach ache, vomiting, nausea, headache, dizziness, stomach bloating, etc.

It is best to examine yourself if you eat mold-contaminated capers. Capers exposed to the fungus can infect the body, pose serious health risks, and result in fungal infections. Hence, refrain from eating capers once you notice the signs of spoilage.


FAQs About Capers Going Bad

In the is section, we will answer some commonly asked questions.


How can I store fresh capers?

Answer: If you have harvested some capers, the first step is to brine them to cut through the bitterness. Immerse the tiny buds into liquid vinegar and let it sit on the shelf for about 2 to 3 days. Once satisfied that the capers have soaked in the vinegar, you can close the lid tight and store them in the fridge for future use.


How to dispose of capers once it is spoilt?

Answer: If the capers taste bad, it is best to discard them. However, since they are brined, do not discard them directly in your trash can. The moisture released can attract other insects and may smell foul by the end of the day. To prevent that, drain the liquid in the sink, transfer the capers to a plastic bag, and throw it in your trash can.

Can capers prevent cancer?

Answer: Capers are high in antioxidants; hence they can prevent the formation of free radicals and reduce oxidative stress that can cause cell damage and trigger cancer. Hence, consuming them can help fight different types of cancer.



Capers are tasty brined fruit buds that can amp up any recipe and form an excellent addition to salads. A tightly sealed jar of capers can last for about 1 year in the pantry and another year after it has opened in the refrigerator.

As long as they are stored in the right conditions, they can be eaten 1 year after their best-by date. If you are unsure about the safety of ingesting an old jar of capers, you can inspect it based on the guidelines mentioned above before using it.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any other questions regarding capers, feel free to reach us in the comment section below.

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