How to properly store caviar and how long will it last?
When you purchase that delicious black or red caviar you have been dreaming about you obviously want to enjoy its incredible flavor. Since most people buy caviar for a specific occasion that usually means that shopping is done ahead of time and you still have days sometimes even weeks before you actually open and consume it. It is valuable to know that improperly stored caviar can go bad in as little as two days and storing it properly is the key to making sure that caviar is still fresh, tastes great, and maintains all of its incredible qualities.
Caviar curing also known as preservation plays a crucial role in how long caviar will last. If you want to learn in detail how caviar is cured and preserved, please follow the link.
There are several fish roe preservation methods, but since we only sell malosol (little salt) caviar we will only be focusing on its shelf life. Malosol caviar contains about 4% to 6% of salt which significantly increases roe shelf-life to a maximum storage time for properly handled and frozen caviar to just about under a year. Keep in mind that flavor degradation does occur the longer it stays frozen. A fresh batch of just salted roe would taste better than one that has been sitting frozen for months and there are also lots of other factors which go into the final composition of the flavor of caviar. It is always best to consume caviar shortly after purchasing it as this is when caviar will taste at its best.
Some caviar is also pasteurized once salted. Caviar pasteurization means immersing and heating the sealed caviar container in hot water at a certain temperature for several minutes. This decreases the risks of encountering food-borne pathogens and results in a shelf-stable product that can be stored unrefrigerated up to a year. Pasteurized caviar texture and flavor are slightly different, but is recommended for pregnant women and people prone to stomach sickness over just regular caviar malossol.
Frozen vs Refrigerated Caviar
As mentioned earlier frozen caviar will stay fresh for a very long period of time, up to a year. So, if you wish to stock up on caviar and eat it months after receiving it freeze it right after you receive it. Also, as mentioned earlier there are many factors that play a role in how caviar tastes. Some of which are whether your freezer maintain its temperature at a steady level of 28 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and how many times caviar has been frozen then thawed then frozen again. This is important because when you buy caviar you should consider the container size to be enough to be consumed without being frozen again. In other words, if you plan to eat a spoon of caviar a week it’s best if you order many small containers as opposed to one large one. Than thaw one container at a time, consume and enjoy!
Refrigerated caviar stored at 33 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit on the other hand can only stay fresh for several weeks and up to a month assuming that it hasn’t been opened and contaminants haven’t been introduced. Once you open the container it is exposed to air and will inevitably start losing its flavor and quality. If you’re in a situation where you don’t finish the whole container and need to store it for a long period of time (more than 3-5) days, it’s best to freeze it than thaw it a day before consumption. Taste deterioration would be negligent compared to the possibility of completely spoiling that expensive caviar.
Short summary of our recommendations
- To ensure you get the most amazing taste consume caviar within 1-5 days after opening the package.
- If you know you won’t be eating your caviar any time soon it is a good idea to freeze it.
- You should freeze caviar only once. Avoid thawing then freezing caviar several times, as this will negatively impact the quality of the caviar.
- When frozen caviar can last for almost a year.
- Pasteurized caviar can stay consumable up to a year even without being frozen.
- Pasteurized caviar flavor and texture are not as rich as that of regular malossol.