Caviar is one of the most expensive delicacies today. According to the Guinness World Records, Almas caviar is the highest-priced caviar, with a kilogram costing about $34,500 (£20,000).
However, one can get caviar at a relatively low cost depending on the source or variety of fish and production conditions. For instance, the price of Beluga caviar ranges from $7,000 to $10,000/kg. By contrast, lumpfish caviar is one of the least expensive alternatives. Other cheaper options include capelin caviar and tobiko caviar.
Caviar is usually not sold in kilograms. It is packaged in small and more affordable quantities, often in grams or ounces. Thus, a jar of caviar weighing 28 grams(One ounce) can cost about $50-75 or more depending on the type and age of the fish, its rarity, conditions under which it was raised, and the processing method used.
Caviar is generally salt-cured roe (unfertilized fish eggs) derived from the Sturgeon fish family (Acipenseridae). However, the definition has now evolved to include salt-cured roe from other fish varieties such as lumpfish, salmon, and whitefish. It now means that caviar does not necessarily need to come from wild Sturgeon raised in the Black and Caspian Seas.
Why is Caviar So Expensive
True caviar is quite expensive, given the time it takes to raise fish in the Sturgeon family. For instance, the Sturgeon fish used for producing high-quality caviar is raised for up to 20 years. Thus, significant resources also go towards the process for a quality product.
In addition, true caviar is rare and in low supply. As noted, overfishing has caused many countries across the world to declare wild sturgeon endangered, pushing the prices of authentic caviar higher. At the same time, government restrictions affecting these traditional sources have led to the introduction of the less expensive caviar from newer and more sustainable sources.
Caviar is also expensive because it takes time and money to harvest and process fish roe into a premium quality product. For instance, salting and aging must be done right for better taste, texture, color, and smell. Performing these tasks usually requires special skills and expertise.
Health Benefits of Caviar
Caviar has a rich nutritional profile. It is a source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. In particular, it contains vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin D, and vitamin A. Caviar also provides selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and sodium when consumed. In addition, this delicacy is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. These nutrients make caviar a nutritional powerhouse and justify its various health benefits.
Caviar promotes heart health
Caviar provides a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Its omega-3 content is usually about 1086 mg per tablespoon, which is higher than the recommended daily intake. Generally, GLOBEFISH (Food and Agriculture Organization Fisheries Division) advises adults to take at least 250 mg of omega-3 daily for optimal protection against cardiovascular disorders such as coronary heart disease.
As noted, the omega-3 fatty acids in caviar essentially help maintain optimal heart function and contribute to better cardiovascular health. In addition, they lower blood pressure and boost cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Caviar boosts mental and brain health
A growing body of literature now shows that eating caviar can help improve mood and manage mental health problems. Polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 have neuroprotective effects and usually boost cognitive function. Thus, they significantly influence mental and brain health, leading to better outcomes for people with psychiatric disorders such as depression.
In addition, eating about 150 mg of omega-3 every day can lead to optimal brain development in children. As noted, caviar is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids meaning that it can provide this amount positively impacting brain health in young children.
For older adults, the neuroprotective properties can help prevent diseases associated with cognitive decline, for instance, Alzheimer’s disease.
Caviar has skin anti-aging properties
Caviar is a delicacy with high fatty acid content. Generally, polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), play a critical role in promoting skin health. For instance, DHA helps regulate adiponectin production and usually serves as a skin anti-aging agent.
Adiponectin further assists in wound-healing and confers anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. In addition, it facilitates collagen production and preserves collagen fibers. As a result, adequate collagen helps maintain skin integrity and prevent skin aging.
Caviar helps invigorate the immune system
Caviar contains selenium and omega-3, which together help boost the immune system. In particular, selenium acts as an antioxidant and usually reduces oxidative stress. As a result, it helps reduce inflammation and maintain optimal immune function. Omega-3 fatty acids equally play a critical role in immune responses. They participate in B cell activation and antibody production. They also help fight inflammation and protect immune cells, strengthening immune responses.
Caviar improves reproductive health
The high omega-3 content in caviar also has significant implications for reproductive health. Reduced DHA levels often lead to low sperm quality and cause male fertility problems. Eating caviar boosts omega-3 levels in the body, which helps produce high-quality sperm and increase the sperm count. As a result, this improves fertility in men with reproductive problems.
How to Eat Caviar
Caviar is traditionally served as an appetizer. It is also often used as a spread or a garnish. Garnishes usually enrich the flavor and caviar-eating experience. Some common caviar garnishes include raw chopped onions, hard-boiled eggs, chives, sour cream, lemon wedges, parsley, creme fraiche, blinis, and sandwich with butter. In Russia, caviar is served with high-quality vodka. It is also common for people to take caviar with a glass of champagne.
Caviar should be served chilled. You should generally avoid using metallic spoons when serving and eating caviar. Using metallic objects can cause the roe to acquire a metallic taste. On this note, a mother-of-pearl spoon is recommended for a fulfilling caviar-eating experience. It helps preserve the delicate caviar flavor. The mother-of-pearl spoon is usually made of nacre (the iridescent inner shell layer from mollusks).
One should take small bites, preferably less than a tablespoon, for a rewarding experience. In addition, one should not chew the caviar but roll it around the mouth and let the intense flavor explode in the mouth. Using tried-and-tested recipes is better to avoid interfering with the complex caviar flavors.
The taste often changes according to the quality of caviar. Each roe usually has a distinct taste and flavor.