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Dec 20, 2008 06:30 PM

Caviar -- is it spoiled?

So I'm not a caviar eater, but received a small jar in a gift basket 2 years (!) ago. I put it in my panty and forgot about it. Just came across it today and am wondering if I can still serve it. It doesn't seem to be pasteurized. I looked it up online and it's not an expensive or rare caviar by any means (Capelin caviar from Iceland). I did some quick research and it seems that caviar should be served within a few weeks of packaging? Should I just toss it?

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  1. Chances are that coming from Iceland, that this is a lumpfish caviar; a heavily salted, and colored caviar. The tell tale sign would be that the eggs are black or very red (sometimes gold or orange) and as it came in a gift basket, it is pretty certainly lumpfish.... If it was a fine Caspian sea caviar, the label would be typically red, yellow or blue, and the words Osietra, Beluga or Servuga would be prominent, and often malosal (lightly salted), as well.

    The fine Caspian caviars should be kept refrigerated, and they would look quite disgusting by now if left in a pantry. From what I recollect the lumpfish variety does not have a best before date, and may have a half life date that extends beyond most of our natural life spans... kidding. These are good for quite some time..

    Truthfully, although my wife of Bulgarian origin will groan every time she sees lumpfish caviar, it is great on a bagel with cream cheese. But what ever you do, don't put fine caviar on your bagel, it would just smother the fine taste... Not that anyone would dump a hundred $$ + of caviar on a bagel...

    (oh... you might want to correct your typo... I smirked, but understood that you probably did not put the caviar in your 'PANTY'.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: fedelst1

      LOL, yes, I put it in my PANTRY. It is a black caviar. When you say "good for quite some time..." do you mean after 2 years in my pantRy, this would be ok to serve?

      1. re: TorontoJo

        I think once you open the lid of the jar you'll have your answer. I bought trout caviar once (my favorite = plump, fat, crunchy orange eggs.... >drool<), and the lid was already kinda bubbled up, even though the expiration date was far, far away.

        Well, I opened the jar. Inside of a car, unfortunately. Whew. One of the worst things I have ever smelled in my entire life. There was no guessing, really.

        And I don't think it would have a long 'shelf' life in your panty '-)

        1. re: TorontoJo

          The lumpfish caviar is preserved with salt, and can sit on a shelf for a couple years...However, I do follow the rule of 'when in doubt throw it out'. Chances are that it is fine as long as it has never been opened, and the jar does not look like it has a bulging top....(i can't believe opening a suspect jar of trout caviar in a confined space)...

        1. The final item in my college girlfriend's Christmas stocking to me in 1973 was a 1 ounce jar of Caspian beluga with an Iranian label, Romanoff, I think. It's a shame that I still have it, and not her.

          1. Thanks for all the input, everyone. I've decided that caution is the wiser course this time around. I'm tossing it. The thought of opening a stinky jar of caviar right before I have guests over is baaaaad.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TorontoJo

              The real question is not necessarily if it's gone bad, as in expired/rotten/etc. but if it was really any good to begin with. My answer is no. Caviar is in my opinion, not something that you should jar up and preserve. Caviar is a refrigerated, perishable item that requires lots of care and attention. The jar you have (though it was a nice gesture) can be found at just about any grocery store. Go take a look for yourself. They keep those jars over by the canned fish and meats (canned tuna fish area). Before you toss it, maybe consider giving it to a pet cat as a Christmas present?!