A Guide to Caviar Types
Caviar is not only a popular and expensive delicacy that can be found in fashionable restaurants and premium supermarkets. Caviar is also a naturally rich source of calories, vitamins, and nutrients, such as proteins and fats.
What is caviar? Caviar Comes From Which Fish?
Caviar is roe or eggs from fish that can be eaten as food. For those who are wondering "what fish is caviar?", the answer is sturgeon or salmon. The producers of the "black" caviar are fish that belong to the sturgeon family, such as Beluga, Sevruga, Osetra, and Sterlet, and the producers of "red" caviar are the salmon family. All kinds of caviar differ among themselves, and each one has a unique color, consistency, taste, and even smell.
Black or red caviar can be served on the table as an independent dish or used as an ingredient in the preparation of various dishes and snacks: salads, sandwiches, sushi, and so on.
But black caviar is considered the most valuable caviar and is sometimes referred to as "black gold". Black caviar naturally contains a large number of vitamins and nutrients.
How to Identify Caviar: Four Possible Types of Caviar
Even though all caviar sources belong to the sturgeon family, the eggs of each fish differ from each other in taste, color, and nutritional content.
Beluga caviar is a delicacy with a pronounced nutty aftertaste. The eggs are large, 3-4 mm, and dark gray to light brown. Black caviar has a pleasant taste; it is very soft and melts in the mouth. Beluga caviar is the largest and has the most expensive price, as it contains vitamins A, B, and D, as well as proteins and nutritious fats. Beluga caviar is tender, and its taste is nutty.
Sevruga caviar is almost the highest-calorie caviar of all existing ones, which, in terms of its commercial value, ranks third after beluga and sturgeon caviar.
Sevruga is a small fish of the sturgeon family. In nature, it is found in the basins of the Caspian, Black, and Azov seas and singly in the Adriatic and Aegean seas. This species is included in the IUCN Red List. Nevertheless, stellate sturgeon caviar is very nutritious and healthy. It is naturally rich in protein, phosphorus, calcium, iron, iodine, and vitamins B1, B2, B9, C, F, D, and PP. Sturgeon caviar compensates for the lack of hemoglobin, has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, and improves eyesight.
Osetra caviar is one of the most healthy gourmet products. On average, it naturally contains 30–35% easily digestible protein and 10–15% healthy fats. Sturgeon caviar has a delicate taste and a pleasant aroma. It has a somewhat more cheaper price than beluga caviar, and it has many more lovers of such a dish. Osetra caviar is a dark olive color, although the color of caviar differs from a particular species. So, caviar can be from silver-black to gray-brown.
Sterlet caviar is a rather valuable, rare, and tasty delicacy. The size of sterlet eggs varies from 2 to 2.5 millimeters. They have a rich black, or sometimes gray-black, color. Sterlet caviar melts in your mouth: the product shell is very soft and tender.
Also known as «red caviar» that is made from the roe of salmonid fishes (chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, chum salmon, salmon, pink salmon, trout.), which has an intense reddish hue. Such caviar naturally contains a large amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega-3 polyunsaturated acids. Among all types of salmon caviar, pink salmon caviar is the most popular. The second place is followed by chum salmon caviar, and the third is occupied by trout caviar.
- Pink Salmon Caviar is considered the most affordable type of caviar with a pleasant taste. The eggs reach a size of up to 5 mm and have a thin shell and a pale orange color.
- Trout caviar. Trout eggs are small, so they are used to decorate canapés and sandwiches. The color varies from dark yellow to purple. There is a noticeable bitterness in the taste.
- Chum salmon. Chum salmon eggs are large, have a light orange saturated color, and have a delicate creamy taste. A distinctive feature of chum caviar is the effect of melting in the mouth, due to the thin shell. The taste is universal, without bitterness and a fishy smell.
- Sockeye caviar. Grainy and has a rich and spicy taste with a slight bitterness. The eggs are small, and similar in appearance to trout caviar, however, they have a more saturated red color.
- Coho caviar. It has a fairly fine structure and a bitter taste, most often dark red.
- Chinook caviar. Chinook caviar has a large size and a delicate taste with a barely noticeable bitterness. The structure of the caviar is homogeneous, the eggs are not stuck together and are easily separated from each other.
The Main Caviar Processing Methods
There are different ways of cooking and serving caviar. The method of processing determines the consistency and flavor of the caviar.
A traditional processing method involves the processing of the roe with as less salt as possible. Malossol caviar is more expensive than salty caviar. Moreover, this type of caviar is highly perishable, so you need to eat it before the caviar gets spoiled.
In comparison to the malossol method, this type of processing requires the use of a moderate amount of salt, which is distinctly noticeable and enhances the flavor of the dish. Due to chemical features, salted caviar is not perishable.
This kind of caviar is made from broken eggs. The mass of eggs is salted in a hot solution, then laid out in splints and dried. The next stage is to clean the product of film and veins.
The consistency of the pressed caviar feels like a jam. Pressed caviar may be eaten with bread or as a spread.
Pasteurized caviar can be found in supermarkets; the caviar is vacuum packaged before being placed in glass jars. Pasteurized caviar can be stored for a long time without spoiling, although its taste and texture are not the same as freshly made caviar.
With proper preparation, without violating technology, caviar in a jar on store shelves completely retains its mineral composition, amino acids, and vitamins. The opened jar will remain of high quality for about three to five days. In this case, you must comply with the storage conditions and keep it in the refrigerator so that it does not rot.
What Caviar Type Has the Best Taste?
To taste, a certain type of caviar may not suit everyone, so when choosing a delicacy, you should know in advance what caviar tastes like.
- The taste of beluga caviar is spicy, has a nutty hue, and has a creamy aftertaste. The smell of beluga eggs is neutral and almost nothing.
- Osetra eggs have a more pronounced salty flavor. But it is rich in taste, also, with a slight taste of the sea and iodine.
- Stellate caviar produced by Stellate has a delicate and refined taste, sometimes with a slight bitterness. The aroma of stellate caviar has a slight marine smell.
- But the taste of sterlet is rich as it has a taste of algae and a salty aftertaste. By smell, Sterlet caviar practically does not smell of anything.
- Red caviar is in many ways similar to each other: it has a light fishy aroma and a rather salty taste and a spicy aftertaste. There should not be any chemical and harsh aromas, as well as an overly bitter taste.
It is impossible to say for sure which type of black caviar is better and has a great taste. The choice in favor of a certain type should be made by the individual preferences and predilections of a person. Anyway, it is important to understand that the strong fishy smell of caviar indicates that the caviar is stale. Or even if it is not caviar, but a completely cheap fake. A quality product does not have bitterness, acid, or excessive salinity.
Caviar is a healthy, natural, and delicious dish that should be included in every person's nutrition plan. Luxury kinds of caviar might be difficult to eat so often, but it is worth it to buy caviar occasionally to maintain the immune system.