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The World's Best Food, Malossol Caviar

The more you learn about black caviar, the more you'll learn that not all caviar is created equal. No matter how rare, how fresh, or how large the caviar pearls, the satisfaction of the mouth-popping texture and rich, buttery flavor depend on one important - and often overlooked - element of production: Preservation.

When caviar is harvested, it is typically cured before packaging and selling. The method used for preservation can be the difference between savoring a delicacy and suffering through substandard roe.

What is Malossol Caviar?

Simply put, malossol caviar (unfertilized sturgeon eggs) is caviar that's been preserved in salt. Malossol is a Russian word that literally means, lightly salted. Curing black caviar in salt is an exceptionally old method of preservation, one that dates back centuries.

Caviar can be eaten fresh, without the malossol process, however, the salty flavor is what many caviar lovers believe makes the caviar taste perfect.

Why Does Caviar Need to be Cured?

In truth, it doesn't! Some civilizations still eat caviar uncured after it's been harvested from the fish. However, in most cases, the curation process is necessary to allow for the production, storage, shipping, and safe consumption of the roe.

Salt is used to cure many types of meat. The use of salt as a preservation additive prevents or slows food spoilage by discouraging the growth of bacteria or fungus.

Caviar eggs, by nature, needs to be cleaned before it can be packaged. So, it's treated with salt to act as a preservative. But it also does something else that might be every bit as importation.

Malossol Caviar Quality & Taste May Surprise You!

Malossol Caviar isn't just salted. It's perfectly salted. This is precisely why malossol black caviar is more expensive; it's prized for its freshness and perfect flavor, owing to the perfect ratio of salt to caviar. Read more about that below.

What Does Malossol Caviar Taste Like?

Malossol caviar taste can be exceptionally difficult to describe. It's one of the mysteries of this delicacy; quality caviar could most accurately be described as tasting of ocean water. But caviar's true flavor palate is also described as buttery, creamy, earthy, nutty, sweet, and even spicy, depending on the sturgeon species you prefer.

Each element of the flavor palate is enhanced by the malossol; it brings out and perfectly balances each note of the roe.

It's for this reason that true caviar connoisseurs can quickly distinguish between caviar and roe or imitation products (fish roe). The buttery, earthy notes of true caviar are enhanced by the perfect saltiness of a malossol cure.

What flavors of caviar are available?

At Captain's Caviar, we sell a wide variety of sturgeon roe (caviar) as well as salmon roe. Each has its own unique flavor. Here are some of our most popular caviars and their flavor palates:

  • Beluga Caviar (Beluga Sturgeon) - River beluga caviar delivers a soft, creamy texture with a buttery taste and a perfect salt-ratio that perfectly compliments the naturally spicy flavor.

  • Sevruga Caviar - Sevruga, the creme de la creme of caviars, brings a robust, savory flavor that elegantly carries notes of sea water, accompanied by a creaminess that can't be matched.

  • Paddlefish Caviar -A wonderful caviar for first-timers, paddlefish caviar has a mild, earthy flavor that's easy to enjoy.

  • Hackleback Caviar (American Sturgeon) - With similar notes to sevruga caviar, hackleback caviar delivers a nutty flavor that is perfectly enhanced by the malossol.

Caviar Preservation and Curing Methods

There are three methods commonly used to cure caviar, some of which are also used for curing fish roe as well.

  • Malossol - The most common and undisputedly the best method, malossol uses a very specific salt to caviar ratio to ensure the best balance of flavors. Perfectly cured malossol will have a salt content of approximately 3-5% After the eggs are harvested from the fish, they are well-cleaned, then combined with salt. Then, the salt and roe are carefully hand-mixed to preserve the integrity of each egg, before being packed into tins or jars.
  • Semi-preserved - This method is more commonly used for non-sturgeon roe, including salmon roe. Using up to 8% salt content, the method can be used to prolong the shelf-life of roe. It is most commonly used to preserve lower-quality products that can be sold at lower prices. However, this method sacrifices taste for longevity, and won't provide the same experience as malossol. For recipes that call for caviar, semi-preserved roe may make a suitable replacement in most dishes, especially if you're looking for a less expensive product.
  • Pressed - Pressed caviar is the method that has the highest salt content. It's also the least like true caviar. Roe is harvested from sturgeons or other fish. The outer cell of the caviar bead is removed, then the inside is passed through a screen. Finally, the roe is manually pressed until it has a thick consistency that can be used as a spread. While many people won't likely find pressed caviar appetizing, those who enjoy the bold flavors of roe may find it a delicious treat.

Caviar can also be pasteurized. When it comes to caviar, pasteurization is typically reserved for roe that is being sold in jars as opposed to tins. Jarred caviar makes for a beautiful presentation, however, it needs to be heat-treated to make it shelf-stable. The heat seals and preserves the roe.

The pasteurization process works quickly so the caviar doesn't become 'cooked' from the heat. However, it can slightly alter the flavor. Still, most would find this a better alternative to pressed or semi-preserved caviar, should malossol not be available.

Caviar Shelf-Life

How long does caviar last? Caviar's shelf-life depends on the fish it has been harvested from and the curing or preservation method. Here are general shelf-life estimates for various types of roe.

  • Sturgeon Caviar Malossol - 3-4 months unopened and stored at approximately 30°F, 5 days opened in the refrigerator
  • Semi-preserved Roe - Up to 1 year unopened and stored at approximately 30°F, 5 days opened in the refrigerator
  • Pressed Roe - Up to 18 months unopened, and may last months opened depending on salt content - read container to be sure
  • Pasteurized Caviar - Up to 15 months unopened, 5 days opened in the refrigerator

How to Order Malossol Caviar at Your Local Fish Market or Restaurant

Would you like to order malossol caviar, but you're not exactly sure how? Don't worry. There are only a few things you need to know in order to know how to order luxury caviar.

The first is to know when ordering expensive food is the price you want to spend.

Caviar is expensive and for many people, it's a luxury that must be enjoyed sparingly. But if you're committed to your purchase, don't feel pressured to spend more than you're comfortable with. There are excellent caviars at entry-level prices. Our recommendation for a first-time caviar experience is American Paddlefish; it's easy on your taste buds and your pocketbook.

Regardless of how much money you can spend, aim to purchase 1-2 oz of caviar per person eating. This will allow each person to have a few good scoops. Your caviar will only last a few days after opening, so don't buy more than you need.

Ordering expensive food for a party can be even more stressful, since you want to be sure you have enough, but don't want to overspend. Depending on the size of your party, it's safe to order .5-1 oz per person. If you're having a more intimate gathering where caviar will be served as part of the meal, plan for 1 oz per person.

Tips for how to order luxury caviar:

  • Don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation.
  • Be honest about your budget.
  • Consider ordering wholesale for larger parties.
  • Ask about flavor if you aren't sure what you want.

What to Serve With Caviar

Caviar is enjoyed in many recipes and can be eaten alongside crudités and other finger foods or simple appetizers. If you're placing caviar on a table for your guests to help themselves, be sure to keep the tins over ice. You can place platters of blinis, small toasts or crackers, creme fraiche, melted butter, lemon wedges, hard-cooked and separated eggs, and chopped green onion.

The Benefits of Consuming Malossol Caviar on a Regular Basis

The price of caviar may leave you wondering, Why consume expensive foods? The answer is simple: The many benefits of eating high-quality food make it worth the price tag.

Wild or imported delicacies might feel like a splurge, but in the case of caviar, they are exceptionally healthy for you. You might be surprised by the exceptional health benefits of caviar.

  • A true superfood, caviar is full of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Caviar's high content of omega-3 fatty acids help keep your skin young and supple.
  • There's early evidence that caviar may help improve the symptoms of male infertility.
  • Malossol black caviar may help reduce inflammation and support immunity.

Malossol brings out the exquisite flavors of caviar. A word of caution: If you need to watch your salt intake for health reasons, eat malossol caviar sparingly. If this isn't a concern, it's perfectly safe to eat 1-2 oz of caviar a day.