A few centuries ago, caviar was an affordable delicacy for various classes. Extracting it in the waters of the Caspian Sea, peasants and nobles could afford to serve caviar for dinner.
Nowadays, caviar is an expensive delicacy appreciated by gourmets. The process of growing caviar takes from seven to ten years and the main exporters of this product are the countries which are located next to the Caspian Sea, such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and others.
Historically, Russia was either a monopolist or a leader in caviar sales. Caviar is given by sturgeon, beluga, and stellate sturgeon. An adult beluga lives longer than a century and reaches a weight of hundreds of pounds. It is the largest freshwater fish on the globe. By the beginning of the 20th century, due to the massive industrial fishing, the age limit and the size of the beluga decreased by half.
According to geologists, the Caspian Sea appeared about 100 thousand centuries ago on the territory of the Eurasian continent. Even in the XXI century, the Caspian Sea gives 90% of all the caviar produced all over the world. In the distant past, before the beginning of industrial fishing, the biological resources of the Caspian Sea and the Volga River reached fantastic volumes and sizes.
Today, manufacturing companies are opening farms where they grow caviar in a natural environment for fish.
Types of the caviar
Depending on the fish type the caviar has its place in the hierarchy, and therefore its price. There are three types of caviar.
It is no wonder that beluga caviar is considered as the best. This fish is the largest sturgeon and the most valuable. First of all, it is famous for its size – beluga could reach 6 meters in length and over 600 kilograms of weight. Unfortunately, in modern conditions, this fish is not able to grow to such sizes. More than 25% of the beluga’s weight falls on its caviar.
Due to beluga’s huge size, its caviar is usually larger than that of other sturgeon. It is valued primarily for large eggs (up to 3.55 mm) and a thin shell. The caviar color can vary from light gray to almost black. The lightest caviar is the most expensive, The experts describe the taste as “delicate aroma of the sea”.
At length, sturgeon can grow up to 2 meters and weigh up to 200 kilograms, although usually, adult fish weighs from 20 to 80 kilograms. Life expectancy is from 60 to 80 years. The color could be different: from dark gray to dark brown and golden. As the fish ages, the color of the caviar changes to light amber, and it acquires an extremely delicate smell, which can be described as a “nut with cream”.
This fish is the smallest of all the sturgeon. Rarely does it reach the length of 1.5 meters and usually weighs no more than 25 pounds. The female stellate sturgeon starts laying eggs earlier than other sturgeon fish, aged 7 to 10 years old, although it is believed that its caviar is the tastiest from the fish’s age of 18 to 22. Real experts appreciate it for its unique, incomparable taste.
Beneficial features of caviar
More than 30% of caviar is proteins, which provide the body with essential amino acids. Caviar contains the fatty omega-3 acids, as well as many essential trace elements – iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It contains vitamins of the following groups: A, D, E and F, folic acid and lecithin.
Caviar contains the record number of vitamins, minerals and trace elements that contribute to the proper metabolism and rapid strength recovery.
Caviar contains hardly any “harmful” (saturated) fats, but it is rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
How to choose caviar?
High-quality caviar has a very faint odor, which most people can harldy catch. A strong, bright fishy smell is a sign of fake or spoiled caviar. The taste of real caviar is tender and salted. Excessive salt and noticeable bitter taste is a very bad sign. Such eggs should not be eaten at all if you take care of your health. The best caviar has an intense flavor with a creamy walnut flavor; the bitterness, if present, should be hardly noticeable – a sign of the highest quality caviar.