When red caviar appears on the table, it means that the holiday is in the house. Unless, of course, you are lucky enough to choose the “right” jar. According to estimates, more than 60% of all caviar sold in Russia cannot be called the high quality product. The lower the cost, the higher the likelihood that you are offered a fake.
Neither fish nor fowl
Now caviar is no longer a seasonal pleasure. Yes, wild fish still spawn in strictly defined terms: from mid-July to mid-October. But you can now buy their delicious eggs throughout the year, and the product will have an excellent taste. However, have you ever noticed that we want to enjoy caviar especially in the cold season? Just remember, this is one of the frequent attributes of the New Year’s table. And there is an explanation for this. If you take a closer look at the composition of the caviar, it becomes clear why it is considered ideal food for long winter evenings.
Firstly, it is extremely rich in proteins (there are even more of them than in chicken breast) and valuable vitamins, which allows it to take care of the immune system and maintain the working capacity. Secondly, frosty weather and central heating make a very negative effect on the skin condition, increasing the body’s need for Omega-3 fats. But a 100-gram serving of caviar can give the body several daily norms of this useful substance.
Moreover, there is a lot of iodine and rare vitamin D in red caviar, which are simply indispensable for raising the mood on any, even especially dark and cold day. It is clear that this product is very necessary for people. It remains only to make the right choice and choose a caviar that will be both healthy and pleasant to taste.
Signs of the quality natural caviar
Gourmets are very meticulous about the method of packaging delicatessen products. Hot debates have been unfolded around the preferred packing of caviar. Some believe that there is nothing better than cans to preserve quality and taste. In addition, such a method of packaging suggests that caviar was packaged in the factory, which is at least some guarantee of its naturalness.
However, this opinion has also opponents who advocate glass containers, in which you can visually assess the quality of caviar and reduce the likelihood of buying low-grade goods. Plastic is also popular, as the latest technologies ensure the safety of the product and its taste and allow to view it through transparent walls.
Whatever you prefer for packaging, be sure to inspect it for traces of damage. The jar must not be wrinkled, non-hermetic or with an erased marking. The label should contain the following information:
- Name. If the manufacturer was afraid to write “caviar” on the packaging, then it is highly likely that you are holding a protein imitation in your hands (fake caviar).
- Grade. If it is marked as the first, then fish roe of the same breed must be in the jar. The breed is also indicated. This product must meet clear requirements: all eggs are ideally sized, there is very little liquid, and there are almost no damaged grains. If the caviar is of the 1st grade, the quality requirements are lower. There is more liquid in the package due to the abundance of crushed eggs, which can vary greatly in caliber. If you hear a gurgle when shaking the jar, it’s better not to take risk, because it can be not caviar, but “caviar juice” inside.
- Condition. Not so long ago, Russian manufacturers began using shock caviar freezing technology. This allows you to practically abandon the help of preservatives, to keep the appearance and quality of the product ideal, as well as to simplify its transportation. Remember that to defrost such caviar, you need to put the jar in the refrigerator.
- Composition. It is best if the list of ingredients contains only caviar and salt. Of course, this does not guarantee that the taste will be delicious, but no chemistry will penetrate your body. This fact is attractive to adherents of natural nutrition. But more often E-numbers (food additives) are still added to the caviar. Some of them are quite safe (E-211 and E-200), but others should make you worry (E-239). The food coloring and vegetable oils may also be present in the composition, although it is already worth considering why the manufacturer resorted to such a primitive tool to improve the product. If you have the opportunity to choose, give preference to caviar without such ingredients.
- History. If the caviar is genuine, the packaging must indicate where it was obtained and packaged. There is also information about the manufacturer and the shift number. The legality of fishing is indicated by the presence of the “P” index in the marking. The quality of the product is confirmed by the territorial proximity of the places of extraction and processing. Since such information is a guarantee of a good quality, conscientious manufacturers seek to convey all the information listed.
- Appearance. If packaging allows, carefully examine the caviar eggs. The whole product should have the same shade. Different color areas and inclusions is unacceptable. Ideally, all eggs should have the same caliber. Having opened a jar, continue your inspection. Caviar should not stick to a spoon or be too dry, and grains should not stick together. When consumed, they burst easily.
Tastes differ: types of red caviar
The taste, the texture and the colour of red caviar vary greatly depending on fish breeds. Therefore you need to know clearly what you are looking for. Most often markets offer the following types of caviar:
- sockeye salmon: grains are very small, the color is bright red, even almost ruby, slightly bitter in taste
- chum salmon: with an orange tint, the eggs are rather large and dense (about 7 mm in diameter), the taste is classic
- coho salmon: red or burgundy, medium-sized (up to 4 mm) and this is similar to sockeye salmon. It also has a specific bitterness, but differs in greater juiciness and even sophistication. Its composition is especially impressive, as it is full of valuable minerals and vitamins. Since permission to harvest coho salmon is difficult to obtain, caviar of this fish is more expensive than caviar of other species
- pink salmon: shades from yellow to orange, grains of medium size (about 5 mm), the taste is classic. When buying, pay attention to the size of the eggs: if they are too big for this type, the product may be too harsh due to being “overripe”;
- chub salmon: large grains (up to 9 mm) have a red-orange shade, the shells are thin, the taste is spicy and slightly hot;
- trout: its price is the most budgetary, because trouts are bred on farms, and not caught in the wild. The color of the eggs is yellow-red, the diameter is small (no more than 3 mm), grains often stick together.