Sturgeon Caviar

Written by Rebecca Russell
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Deep in prehistoric times there existed all manner of species that have become extinct over many thousands of years. Some remain only in fossils and others adapted into creatures that live, today, on the earth and in the sea. The sturgeon is one of the most fascinating of this variety. It is the largest of any freshwater fish, and looks to some like a living fossil. Rather than scales to protect it from the elements, the sturgeon is covered in a series of plates made of bone.

Different varieties of sturgeon grow to be different sizes, from the White Sturgeon which can reach up to 1,800 pounds, to the Sevruga weighing only 150 pounds. Sturgeon can live for over 100 years, and spawn rather infrequently--every four to 11 years. Many of the 24 different varieties of sturgeon are sought after for their eggs, which are then transformed into caviar.

How Caviar is Prepared

Harvesting sturgeon eggs is a delicate process. There are two main seasons for sturgeon spawning--spring and fall. Once a mature sturgeon is spotted, and deemed ready to spawn, it is stunned and taken from the water. The eggs are then extracted from the fish, tasted and inspected for quality and flavor and lightly salted by hand.

The caviar is then shipped all over the world to be enjoyed by consumers. The expense of sturgeon caviar depend upon the population of each type. American sturgeon caviar tends to be less expensive, while the more famous Caspian sea varieties--Beluga, Osetra and Sevruga--are more costly. A little research can help determine which a preferred variety for specific consumers.

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