- Caviar is the processed and salted roe (eggs) of various types of fish, with the most well-known being the Beluga sturgeon from the Caspian Sea . Long known as a symbol of luxury, caviar has more recently become a source of controversy in the international food market, as overfishing, poaching practices, and pollution in the Caspian Sea have led to the classification of Beluga sturgeon as an endangered species.
- Caviar is an expensive delicacy consisting of the unfertilized eggs (roe) of sturgeon brined with a salt solution. Classic caviar comes primarily from Iran or Russia, harvested by commercial fishermen working in the Caspian Sea. A specific species of sturgeon called beluga provide what many consider to be the best caviar in the world.
Production and Processing
- Caviar is traditionally served with horn, wood, gold, nacre, or plastic
utensils. Commercial caviar production normally needs stunning the fish (usually by clubbing its head) and extracting the ovaries; some commercial fish farmers are experimenting with surgically removing roe from living sturgeon, allowing the females to continue producing more roe during their lives.
- There are two types of Caviar production process. These are:
1. Traditional Caviar Production Process. It is a process of separating the skin from the salmon eggs using manual labor. A maximum rate of twenty five percent for grade A product is being lost with this process. Less than fifty percent is being lost in grade B product and a maximum of seventy percent is being lost for grade C product.
2. East Point Caviar Production Process. It is a process of separating the skin from the salmon eggs using a machine. The machine is a specially designed tool for making caviar. This process reduces the lost rate of grade A products to a maximum of ten percent.
- Caviar is categorized as an appetizer in a meal, since it functions the same way as soups do. Caviar has the capability of preparing the digestive systems for other dishes. Caviar contains only a small amount of calories. But it comes with the following minerals: Protein (25 g per 100 g), Fat (17g per 100 g), Cholesterol (440mg per 100g), Sugar (4 g per 100g), Sodium (1700 mg per 100 g), Potassium (164 mg per 100 g), Phosphorus (330 mg per 100 g), Calcium (51 mg per 100 g), Vitamins such as D, A, C, B2, B44, B12 and PP are present in caviars.
- Fish roe products can be extremely valuable. The first level wholesale value of fish roe products in Washington is over $350 million. Currently, the bulk of this revenue is derived from salmon, pollock and herring roe, with increasing income from the sale of trout caviar, a new product in U.S. markets. A rapidly emerging market in the Pacific Northwest is black caviar from cultured sturgeon and other species such as paddlefish, with an estimated first level wholesale value of $200 million nationally.
- The beluga's caviar is the most expensive in the world and this can be considered the most expensive fish in the world. Like in all fishes, the amount of caviar (eggs) is linked to the female's size: a female with a length of 1.8 m (6 ft) and weighing 90 kg (200 pounds) can deliver 5 to 15 kg (12 to 40 pounds) of caviar. A beluga (the largest sturgeon, inhabiting the Black and Caspian seas basins) female delivered 120 kg (270 pounds) of caviar.
- Traditionally, only two nations of the world have been major caviar-exporters: the former Soviet Union and
Iran. In the CIS, there has been a shift from local to foreign markets, while Iran has increased the volumes of its caviar exports yearly and now exports about 95 per cent of its production. Current domestic consumption within the CIS is estimated to be only about 100 tones yearly compared to an average of 1800 tones in the 1980s.
- Among EU countries, Germany was the main importer (85 tones per year), but it re-exported approximately 45 per cent of its imports to other European countries and the USA. France, where pressed caviar can retail for up to US$600 per kilo, is the largest EU caviar consumer with 80 tones imported yearly and 60 tones consumed on its domestic market. The UK (20 tones per year) and Belgium (20 tones per year) follow Germany and France in importance as importers of Caspian caviar.
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