Caviar is processed, salted fish roe (eggs) of certain species of fish, most notably the Sturgeon. Eggs fresh from the fish has virtually no flavor, and must be brined, not only to add flavor, but also for preservation.
Caviar has a luscious taste and has a consistency that is similar to that of a butter which melts in the mouth. Caviar is marketed as a delicacy and is principally eaten as either a garnish or a spread.
Health Benefits of Caviar:
- Caviar is a rich source of vitamins A and D, magnesium and selenium as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are proven to benefit the nervous system, circulatory and immune systems as well as combat cancer and heart disease.
- Caviar is known as a hangover remedy due to its high content of acetylcholine (neurotransmitter believed to play a key role in memory retention) which lines the stomach and increases the body’s tolerance to alcohol.
- Eating caviar on a regular basis can improve the health of skin. Many cosmetic companies are using caviar oils in face creams and cleansers to improve skin’s texture and elasticity.
- Caviar was recommended for patients recovering from surgery and chemotherapy as it is an excellent source of hemoglobin content.
- The French value caviar as an aphrodisiac.
Nutrient Content of Caviar: 115 g (1 cup)
- Protein: 3.9 g
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 1086 mg
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 13 mg
- Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 0.7 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Total Carbohydrates: 0.6 g
- Vitamin A: 145 IU
- Vitamin B12: 3.2 mcg
- Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol): 0.3 mg
- Vitamin D: 37.1 IU
- Vitamin K: 0.1 mcg
- Calcium: 44 mg
- Magnesium: 48 mg
- Selenium: 10.5 mcg
- Folate: 8 mcg
- Choline: 78.6 mg
- Iron: 1.9 mg
- Phosphorus: 57 mg
- Potassium: 29 mg
- Zinc: 0.2 mg
- Sodium: 240 mg
- Total Calories 169 KJ
Things to know about Caviar:
- Caviar is rated according to its size, color of its roe and the method of processing.
- It is not advisable to use metal utensil in serving caviar because metal reacts with the caviar and imparts an off flavor. Traditionally Mother-of-Pearl spoons are used but other materials that work perfectly are wood, bone, glass, and gold. In addition, other spices and herbs should not be added to the caviar.
- The wine that goes best with caviar is Champagne.
- Caviar from any other source than sturgeon must be designated by the fish it comes from, such as “salmon caviar” or ”paddlefish caviar”. If it just says ‘caviar’ on the container, it’s from sturgeon.
- Expensive caviars are not priced by taste, but rarity. The “best tasting caviar” is up to you.
Different Varieties of Caviar:
- Sterlet. Small golden eggs which were once considered the finest caviar available and reserved for the highest royalty in the lands. This variety is virtually extinct, so don’t expect to find any on the market, even if you can afford it.
- Beluga. Its roe is very large (pea sized), ranging in color from black to pale grey, and has a smooth, buttery flavor. The eggs have a prominent dark spot called an “eye” which is the actual egg itself. The surrounding gel is the egg sac. Beluga Caviar is the world’s most expensive available caviar, next to Sterlet.
- Osetra. It has a medium-sized gray to brown eggs and even golden brown with a flavor almost nutty, considered second in quality to beluga.
- Sevruga. It has smaller eggs than osetra, grayish in color, has a buttery flavor, but saltier, richer and more intense. Sevruga is the least expensive of the four varieties.
Shell life of Caviar: Unopened and refrigerated, your caviar will last 4-6 weeks. Once you open it and expose it to air, you should eat it within 4 days. To insure the best shelf life of your caviar, store it on ice or a frozen ice pack while in the refrigerator to keep it extra cold.
- Because of the high cost of Russian Caviar ($100 an ounce) some seller oftentimes substituted with lumpfish roe, bogus caviar that is dyed with a synthetic black azo dye only approved for lumpfish. This is a condiment worth avoiding. But since it is indistinguishable from the real thing only the most experienced caviar connoisseur will know.
- Since caviar is high on sodium, people on low sodium diet should stay away from caviar.