Caviar was originally harvested by Russian and Persian fishermen in the Caspian Sea. Caviar is harvested from ‘Sturgeon’ a common name for 27 species of fish. Caviar refers to unfertilized salt-cured fish eggs that include Ossetra, Sevruga and Beluga.
Beluga, this is caviar that consists of roe (eggs) of the beluga sturgeon, Huso Huso. This is the most expensive type of caviar marketing at $7000-$10000/kg. However it is considered to be critically endangered. In 2005, the United States made it illegal to import beluga caviar and beluga sturgeon into the country, because of the animal’s endangered status. However, caviar from beluga hybrid species is still for sale in the country, it is farmed in controlled environments for commercial use. The Beluga sturgeon takes up to 20 years to mature. Their roes are the largest of the commonly used roes ranging from dark grey to light grey, lighter colours come from older fish and they are the most valued. There is another variation from the beluga-albino caviar, Almas. Almas is golden caviar produced from eggs of the very rare albino sturgeon between 60-100years old. A kg of this caviar sells for $25000.00. The caviar is sold without any additions as they diminish its value.
Ossetra is one of the most prized and expensive types of caviar, the fish vary in colour from brown to gold. Lighter variations are the most sought after as they are richer in flavour and the oldest. Ossetra can live up to 50 years.
Sevruga is the least expensive of the identified caviars, however it is also critically endangered. The fish produce small grey eggs. It is the most common and fastest to reproduce, making it the most commonly found caviar. This caviar is saltier in comparison to the other two, but this also depends on where the fish originated.
Fun facts about Caviar
Is Caviar Russian?
Did you know the word caviar is not Russian? Russians call it ikra but the word itself hails from the Turkish havyar which comes from khayah, the Persian word for egg.
How old is Caviar?
The oldest written account of caviar dates back to the 1240s during the epoch of Mongol ruler Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan
Where is Caviar produced?
Most of the world’s caviar is produced in the Caspian Sea, which is bordered by Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran.
Who produces Caviar?
The people who make caviar are called Ikrjanschik. Before making it they must undergo an apprenticeship that lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 years.
Variety of Caviar
The world’s best caviar is produced from three varieties of sturgeon: Beluga sturgeon (Beluga), Russian sturgeon (Osetra), and Stellate sturgeon (Sevruga).
What colors does caviar have?
Real caviar ranges in color from light to dark gray and yellow-gray to brown-black. Red ‘caviar’ doesn’t come from sturgeon, it is actually salmon roe.
How to serve Caviar?
Serving caviar with silver utensils is a sin, as the metal adversely affects the flavour of this delicacy, Instead, use spoons made with mother of pearl.
Most expensive Caviar?
The highest quality of Beluga caviar is called Almas, which means “diamond” in Russian. It is sold only by London’s Caviar House and is packaged in a round, 24 karat gold box, costing around 40,000 euros per kilo.
Caviar nutritional properties
Although it is high in sodium and cholesterol, caviar is rich in calcium and phosphorus, as well as protein, selenium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins B12 and B6.
How to preserve Caviar?
Caviar should never be frozen, as it will end up mushy. It is best served in a crystal or glass bowl over ice.