Red caviar is one of the most popular delicacies. In Sakhalin, there is an abundance of various kinds of caviar. The caviar of various types of salmon differs by the size of the eggs, colour and taste.
Pink salmon caviar is one of the most popular. It has a delicate and pleasant flavour. The eggs are about 3 to 5 mm in diameter, varying in colour from light to darker orange. The eggs themselves are quite soft. Pink salmon is very abundant, which is why producers prefer it to other types of salmon.
The eggs of blueback salmon caviar are not large, only about 3 mm in diameter. They are slightly bitter in taste, and vary in colour from bright to dark red.
If you like blueback caviar, you are sure to like silver salmon caviar as well. The eggs are also small (3-4 mm), and they are wine red in colour. Silver salmon caviar has a characteristic, slightly bitter taste.
If you prefer larger eggs, try king salmon caviar. The taste is slightly bitter, with spicy notes, the eggs are deep red in colour, 6 to 7 mm in diameter.
Chum salmon caviar is also distinguished by the large size of its eggs: they can reach 7 mm in diameter. They are amber-orange with a reddish tint in colour, with a clearly visible embryo. The taste is delicate, and the outer skin is rather firm.
In summer season, you should try "pyatiminutka" (caviar prepared in five minutes).
Fresh caviar is placed in salted water for a few minutes, then the water is strained off, and the caviar is ready to serve. The taste may seem quite bland. As a souvenir, such caviar won't do: it goes bad vary fast.
Keep in mind that fresh caviar comes onto the market no earlier than June.
It's better to buy caviar produced in spawning months. Spawning generally takes place from mid May to December, depending on the type of fish. For example, pink salmon spawns in June-July in the west of Sakhalin , or in July-August in the east, while on the Southern Kuril Islands the spawning period is August-September.
Good quality caviar must not stick to the teeth when bitten. Also it must not be too hard or salty. A strong odour means that the caviar is of poor quality. However, if the caviar has got no odour at all, this means it was once frozen. Crumpled, lose caviar is another bad sign. However, the caviar must not be sticky either. Make sure that the caviar is a homogeneous colour, clean, and free of impurities.
If you see any bubbles or a white film in the container with caviar, or if there is too much juice (liquid), it's better not to buy such caviar. Make sure that the package has not been damaged and is not swollen . Be wary if the price of the caviar is suspiciously low.
The ideal temperature for storing caviar is 4 to 6°С. After opening, caviar may be kept for up to one week. For storage purposes, it is best to remove the caviar from the metal can, and put it into another container to avoid oxidation.