Caviar is the salted eggs from three types of sturgeon fish, Beluga, Osetra, and Sevruga. The highest quality Caviar comes from the Caspian Sea. The oldest and largest Caviar fisheries in the world are in Astrakhan, Russia. Some of them are as old as 200 years.
Caviar is processed by taking the roe (one large sac) and running it over a very fine mesh screen that separates the eggs into separate pieces. The eggs then fall into a large bowl that the Ikrjanschik (caviar maker in Russian) then adds precise amounts of pure sea salt. It takes at least 10 to 15 years of apprenticeship until the Ikrjanschik is allowed to process the Caviar on his own. Salt is added to prevent freezing, as Caviar must be stored at between 28 to 31 degrees. The Caviar is then graded and packed into 4 pound tins.
Caviar is sold fresh in jars or tins. Sizes range from 1 oz. jars or tins to 4 pound original containers. Most typical in gourmet stores or restaurants is the 1 oz. jar. The store should have the Caviar stored on crushed ice or a separate freezer set at the proper temperature. Caviar can also be purchased by mail order. It is shipped Fed Ex overnight in special containers. In fact that is how it is shipped to stores and restaurants nationwide
Caviar will last about 1 week at home in your refrigerator. It should be stored in the coldest part, usually in the meat compartment. Caviar should be eaten within 2-3 days after opening.