What better accompaniment to a nice, cold bottle of champagne than some caviar? However, what if the caviar was cold too? Today, we’re going to explore how long caviar lasts.
So how long does caviar last? Caviar should last 4-6 weeks in the fridge once opened. When stored at room temperature, caviar may go bad and develop a sour smell in 8-10 days. Keep the caviar unopened and refrigerated until consumption.
So while it’s perfectly possible to freeze caviar, there are a few key considerations to make before doing so, including who you’ll be serving it to and what you typically enjoy about your caviar.
How Long Does Caviar Last?
If you’re trying to freeze caviar, then you’re likely worried about how long your caviar will last. You may be surprised to learn that you can store caviar for an extended period of time under the right conditions.
If your caviar has been pasteurized and it’s still in an unopened tin, it can last for up to sixty days unrefrigerated.
Unpasteurized caviar should be refrigerated, and it can last for between two and three weeks before it should be consumed.
Opened caviar should preferably be consumed as soon as possible since the flavor and texture start to degrade as soon as the tin is opened. If you have to store opened caviar, it must be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within two or three days.
Be sure to store opened tins of caviar delicately. Smooth down any remaining caviar to ensure that it has a large enough contact surface with the remaining oil and cover the tin with a sheet of plastic wrap. Rotate and gently shake the tin once per day to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed.
Can You Freeze Caviar?
Yes, you can freeze caviar but it comes at the expense of the caviar’s flavor and texture. Whether or not the difference will be noticeable depends on your palate and experience eating caviar.
Any kind of food can be frozen, but the question is often contingent on whether or not the food will be tasty or even edible when you take it out of the freezer.
Unfortunately, caviar treads the very fine line between edible and inedible when it is frozen, and whether or not you can eat it depends on exactly what you appreciate out of caviar.
One of the main changes to caviar, when it ends up in the freezer, is a toughening of the membrane around the roe. Depending on how long the caviar is frozen, this can have an adverse effect on a few different parts of your caviar:
- Changes to the caviar’s texture
- A softening of the caviar’s flavor
- The caviar bursting after thawing
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Depending on how long the caviar was frozen and how it was thawed, the texture can either become too hard or too soft.
The most common thing that happens is your caviar getting soft after thawing, as it no longer has the kind of delicate crunch that you’ve come to expect from it. This leads to the caviar losing some of its distinctive mouthfeel and seeming like it’s stale.
If the caviar is improperly thawed and it is served while it is still partially frozen, it’s also possible for the caviar’s texture to shift in the opposite direction, becoming too hard.
On their own, these issues would compromise your caviar, but they wouldn’t ruin it. The proverbial final nails in the coffin are yet to come.
As is common with frozen food, you can expect your caviar to have a diminished flavor after it thaws.
While this may not be a huge issue with other meat products, caviar has such a delicate flavor that even the slight softening of the taste caused by freezing it can ruin the experience.
If you’re freezing something a little more affordable like salmon caviar, this may not be an utter tragedy. On the other hand, we wouldn’t recommend freezing more high-end caviar varieties like golden osetra caviar.
Here’s a table of which caviars you should and shouldn’t freeze:
|OK to freeze||Do not freeze|
|Trout caviar||Golden osetra caviar|
|Salmon caviar||White sturgeon caviar|
Keep in mind that the flavor will degrade further with each repeated freeze and thaw cycle, so try to avoid freezing your caviar more than once if you want to retain its full taste.
Frozen Caviar Bursting
To ensure that frozen caviar doesn’t burst, you’ll have to thaw it very carefully for a day before you try serving it. This will also ensure that the damage to the caviar’s flavor and texture is minimized.
Frozen caviar should typically be refrigerated at temperatures between 28 and 32 degrees F, meaning that you should either turn down your refrigerator’s temperature or leave the caviar at the coldest part. Typically, the coldest part of a refrigerator is the meat shelf.
You can also place the tin in a bowl of ice in your refrigerator so that it can thaw more gradually.
How Should Caviar Be Served?
As long as it isn’t frozen, caviar placed in the refrigerator will not require excessive preparation before being served. It is sufficient to remove the caviar from the refrigerator about ten minutes before you’re ready to serve it. Be sure not to remove the lid from the can while it is left out.
Prepare a small bowl or plate of crushed ice, as placing the caviar tin on it will help ensure that the caviar retains its flavor and texture while it is out. While the caviar can also be transferred out of the container, leaving it in the tin will help ensure that it doesn’t lose any of its oil.
While there is a myth that eating caviar with a metal spoon diminishes the flavor, this has little basis in reality (the caviar does come in a metal container, after all).
However, due to tradition, serving your guests’ caviar with metal spoons may be seen as poor form; try to use bone or pearl caviar spoons.
If the caviar is being served alone, serve each guest between one and two ounces of it. If the caviar is being consumed with accompaniments, halve this serving guideline to between a half ounce and one ounce.