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caviar

american caviar

American caviar is a new important player in the caviar market. It is farmed and harvested in freshwater lakes or tanks generally on the Pacific Northwest Coast of the United States, as well as California and the Great Lakes. American caviar or roe species can include: sturgeon caviar, hackleback caviar, paddlefish caviar, salmon caviar and whitefish caviar. Some consider it close to the Russian and Iranian Osetra caviars (taste and texture), although others rank it closer to the slightly smaller (and less expensive) Sevruga caviar.

Over fishing of sturgeon species in the Caspian Sea (Caspian Beluga is now in the endangered species list) has sent the Russian and Iranian caviar markets into a downward spiral, causing Caspian caviar to be less available and much harder to find (although generally Iranian caviar is easier to find these days than Russian Beluga caviars-albeit at a high price). American caviar has risen to fill that increasing void, presenting an environmentally conscious and sustainable option, without sacrificing flavor and quality. Further, American caviars present a much more affordable option, primarily due to wider availability, but also because of certain amount of caviar snobbery which only accepts Caspian caviars as the true caviars.

TYPES OF AMERICAN CAVIAR

American Sturgeon Caviar/Hackleback Caviar

The most sophisticated American gourmet caviar or roe. Typically from the hackleback sturgeon which roams wild in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, this is your best domestic option. All the quality of sturgeon caviar, American Sturgeon caviar is small, a glistening jet-black, and dissolves in your mouth, leaving a nutty aftertaste. The main difference is a strong aftertaste that you usually won’t find in other caviars. However, it makes a great substitute for more expensive imports, plus it is much easier to find! Another option, though not as readily available, is the white sturgeon, farmed typically in California, but originally found in the Pacific from Alaska to Mexico, and comparable to the Caspian osetra caviar.

Bowfin Caviar/American Caviar

The bowfin is a rare specimen of an ancient fish which lived over 180 million years ago. In the American South it was generally discarded as a “trash fish”, their flesh used in fish cakes. Also known by its Cajun name, “choupique”, which comes from "shupik," a Choctaw Indian word for ‘mudfish.' Also called swampfish and cypress trout. Bowfin roe is called “Cajun Caviar” in some parts of the South, and this American caviar produces berries that are black in color and very flavorful. The texture is firm, the eggs a glistening black (very similar to sturgeon caviar).

Salmon Caviar/ Red Caviar  

Beautiful caviar, from the eggs of the female salmon. A great domestic product, North American Salmon caviar usually comes from salmon of Alaska or the Pacific Northwest, which makes it much more affordable. It is bright, pearlescent, reddish pink, so the eggs are popularly referred to as “pearls” (it makes an absolutely stunning garnish). It is larger, juicier, and much saltier than other caviars.

Whitefish Caviar/ American Golden Caviar  

Originally from European fish species, this is now a hallmark of the American caviar industry. Like its name implies, the eggs are golden-yellow, extremely firm and kind of pop in your mouth as you bite in. They can be used as a garnish, looking absolutely fabulous.

Paddlefish Caviar/Paddlefish Roe

From North America, this is by far the best substitute for the more expensive sturgeon caviars; Paddlefish is a close relative of the sturgeon, with a caviar that is comparable to Sevruga in taste, with dark eggs on the smallish side. It is more affordable than sevruga. It is harvested in the North America (due to a decline in paddlefish populations paddlefish caviar is harder to find). It is also called spoonfish is Kentucky, and found in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The flavor is smooth, and slightly saltier and more understated than Caspian sturgeon caviar.

Lumpfish Caviar/ Lumpfish Roe

Lumpfish is an Atlantic Ocean fish. The roe of this fish is really small, hard, crunchy, and black. Much less expensive than most other caviars. The caviar can be found dyed black or red, which is great for using these tiny eggs for garnishing purposes. The best choice for those occasions that call for quantity, if not the best of quality.

Trout Roe/Trout Caviar

Not a remarkably popular product in the caviar market, but trout caviar is a very inexpensive option from the Great Lakes of North America. It yellow or orange, with a salty flavor, although a sticky texture.

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