Is there anything more luxurious than caviar? I know it sounds strange, but hear me out. In a world where the average person spends $200 on coffee every month and $7 for a bottle of water, it’s not too far fetched to imagine that some people would spend up to two thousand dollars on this delicacy.
So does black caviar expire? Yes, black caviar can expire. How long black caviar can last depends on the process that was used to produce it. While malossol caviar is very perishable, pasteurized caviar can last longer than it, so always verify what kind of caviar you have before you decide to store it.
In some countries, such as France, it’s illegal to sell black caviar because it’s seen more as a luxury than food.
To ensure that you stay safe when you eat your caviar, you’ll want to know everything you can about storing it in the proper conditions, and I’m going to take a closer look at what you need to do to maximize how long it lasts.
Does Black Caviar Expire?
So, what is black caviar really? Black Caviar is a caviar that is made from sturgeon eggs. Black caviar has a salty and oily taste, and can be enjoyed as part of an appetizer or entree. The best black caviar comes from the Caspian Sea in Iran and Russia.
Despite being canned, caviar can eventually expire because of its susceptibility to bacteria. Plenty of steps go into the canning process to make it last as long as it does, as the environment inside of a caviar can is anaerobic, ensuring that bacteria can’t flourish and thrive due to the relative lack of oxygen.
Since caviar is raw, you can expect it to be relatively susceptible to going bad.
In spite of this, caviar prepared using the traditional malossol process (which limits the amount of salt that goes into it) can typically last between one and four weeks. Keep in mind that malossol caviar will only last this long if it is stored properly.
If you want your malossol caviar to last as long as possible, you’ll need to keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator. The best temperature to store malossol caviar at is 27 degrees F, which is a little lower than most refrigerators can go, even when they’re turned to their coldest setting.
To ensure that your black caviar doesn’t end up going bad because of too high of a temperature in your refrigerator, you should store it in the meat drawer. This is typically the coldest part of the refrigerator, as it’s designed to ensure that meat is relatively unlikely to spoil.
If even the coldest part of your refrigerator doesn’t get as low as 27 degrees F, you have a few options at your disposal. Most caviar will be shipped with gel ice that will ensure that it remains cool while it’s on the way to you. You may wish to hold on to this gel ice so you can keep your black caviar cold enough.
Once again, you’ll want to store your caviar in your refrigerator’s meat drawer, but make sure that you put the tin on a bed of gel ice, which will help keep it cold. You should check up on it each day to ensure that the ice hasn’t melted, and when it does, be sure to replace it with your own ice.
You’ll typically want to avoid storing your caviar in the freezer because freezing caviar diminishes the quality. Every time you freeze caviar, the already delicate flavor is further suppressed to the point that it really isn’t even the same experience.
Another thing to consider is that caviar’s texture will be diminished when you freeze it, as the membrane around each of the eggs will degrade and the caviar will become mushy.
Does Pasteurized Caviar Expire?
Pasteurized caviar tends to last longer than malossol caviar and it’s also more affordable, but it’s not exactly a worthy replacement. Unfortunately, for caviar to be pasteurized, it must have a significant percentage of salt added to it. You may be thinking that this isn’t really a big deal because of how salty caviar already is, but it heavily unbalances the flavor.
Along with having a large amount of salt added to it, the tin of caviar is exposed to temperatures of about 200 degrees F so that any microbes within the caviar can be killed off. This will ensure that they don’t grow within the dark confines of the can for even longer than malossol caviar.
Assuming you store your pasteurized caviar in a cool, dark place, you can rest assured that it will be good to eat for up to a year after you purchased it. Some pasteurized caviars can even last for up to two years after purchase, depending on the expiration date that you see on the can.
If you’re just getting started with caviar and you don’t mind going with a saltier alternative, pasteurized caviar can be much more convenient. You can store pasteurized caviar at room temperature, ensuring that you don’t have to worry about keeping it at 27 degrees F in your fridge.
Also, if you’d like to keep a large amount of caviar for an event and you can’t arrange to store it for a long enough time, pasteurized caviar may be acceptable. Keep in mind that many caviar connoisseurs will scoff at the idea of even eating pasteurized caviar, so know your audience before serving it.
How to Store Unfinished Caviar
Sometimes, there’s some caviar left over after an event, and ensuring that you store it properly can be the difference between having some left for the next day or potentially giving yourself food poisoning. Whether you have pasteurized or malossol caviar, when you open the tin, all bets are off.
If stored properly, an opened tin of caviar can last for about two days, though the taste and texture will gradually degrade over that time. Before storing it, use your caviar spoon to pat down the caviar and ensure that it’s contacting as much of the oil as possible, as that will ensure that it doesn’t dry out.
Cover the tin tightly with saran wrap to ensure that no more air can get to the caviar, as it will be ruined if it oxidizes. Much like malossol caviar, you’ll want to keep it as close to 27 degrees F as possible, so store it in the meat drawer on top of a bed of ice.
Want to know more about caviar? Read also our article Can You Eat Caviar On Keto?