Does Canned Caviar Need to be Refrigerated?

There’s a lot to consider when storing caviar in the fridge, and it’s a lot more than I can tell you over the course of a couple of sentences.

But does canned caviar need to be refrigerated? Yes, canned caviar needs to be refrigerated. Keep canned caviar in the coldest part of the fridge. The ideal temperature for caviar storage is 27 degrees F. The only time when you don’t need to refrigerate caviar is when you’re eating cheaper pasteurized caviar.

Does Canned Caviar Need to be Refrigerated?

Keep reading to learn about the differences between traditional malossol caviar and pasteurized caviar, as well as what that means when it comes to storing them.

Does Canned Caviar Need to be Refrigerated?

While most canned products don’t need to be refrigerated, there are a few key differences between caviar and other food types, and one of them is that traditional caviar needs to be stored in the fridge

The malossol method is responsible for producing some of the best caviar on the market, and it sharply limits the amount of salt that can be added to caviar. The most expensive caviar in the world, beluga caviar, is produced using the malossol method.

The caviar producers responsible for overseeing the malossol method are both artists and scientists, and it takes years of practice to get the proportions right for quality caviar. However, since salt is often responsible for preserving food, it also makes this kind of caviar a lot more perishable.

You can expect malossol caviar to expire after about a month in the refrigerator, at maximum. Some malossol caviar may go bad within a couple of weeks, and that’s only if you store it properly. You’ll also have to follow some very specific guidelines when refrigerating your caviar:

  • Keep it in the coldest part of the fridge
  • The ideal temperature for caviar storage is 27 degrees F
  • If your refrigerator doesn’t get cold enough, store the caviar on ice

What you typically want to do when storing caviar in the refrigerator is to turn the temperature knob down as low as it goes. In most cases, this still won’t be cold enough to get down to the magic number of 27 degrees F, so you’ll have to get creative with where you store your caviar.

You should keep your caviar at the lowest part of your refrigerator, as heat tends to rise and the bottom of the fridge is consequently the coldest area. This is typically where you’ll find the meat drawer or the humidity-controlled crisper on most refrigerators, so you’ll have a convenient place to keep it.

If that’s still not cold enough to store your caviar, you’ll have to create a pile of ice that you can keep the tin on top of. Never freeze your malossol caviar, as that will ruin the delicate flavor and will also soften the texture of the caviar, making it less of a delight to chew on when you crack it open.

What About Pasteurized Caviar?

If you want to store your caviar at room temperature, then all is not lost. You can get your hands on some pasteurizedcaviar that doesn’t need to be stored in an extremely specific way, though you’ll have to accept a few compromises in other areas.

The main issue with pasteurized caviar is that a large amount of salt needs to be added to it before it undergoes pasteurization. This upsets the delicate balance of flavors in caviar and it reduces the product’s value. You’ll never see high-quality caviar like beluga or ossetra pasteurized as that would simply be a waste of a good commodity.

If you keep it out of the sun and store it in a dry place, pasteurized caviar can last you between nine months and two years, depending on the expiration date on the tin. Whether or not you’re willing to accept pasteurized caviar depends on how much caviar you’ve eaten before.

If you’re just getting started with caviar, then you may not mind it being a little oversalted. However, if you’re used to the best possible caviar, then you’ll want to avoid pasteurized caviar, as there’s no chance that it will be able to compare to the delicacies that you’re used to.

Keep in mind that even pasteurized caviar will need to be refrigerated once you open it up, and you’ll want to eat it within 48 hours of opening the tin if you want to play things safe. 

What Happens When Caviar isn’t Fresh?

If your caviar has gone bad, then the least you can expect is the flavor to be off. In some cases, the flavor of bad caviar will get less and less noticeable over time until it just tastes like salt. Another thing that gets worse over time is the texture of your caviar, as it will tend to get softer.

When caviar softens, it becomes less satisfying to eat, and it will eventually reach a point where it’s essentially just a goop. For obvious reasons, this won’t be as palatable as the full-bodied caviar once was.

Another thing to consider is the possibility of microbes and bacteria growing in your tin of caviar. Even if you don’t open the can, bacteria will eventually start eating away at the caviar and can potentially make you sick if you consume it, with botulism being a very real possibility after eating contaminated caviar.

Botulism is also possible if a mistake is made during the canning process that was used to produce your caviar. Some batches of caviar have been recalled because of a risk of botulism associated with them. Keep in mind that there are plenty of safety checks in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen regularly, so it’s a fairly rare occurrence.

Having an idea of how you should store your caviar will ensure that it can last you as long as possible and that you don’t unintentionally give yourself a nasty case of food poisoning. To make sure that all of our readers can safely consume their black gold, I’ve put together this guide on whether caviar should be refrigerated.