Caviar is a very delicate, sensitive, and expensive food. It must be eaten and stored in certain ways to prevent ruining its taste or even worse – letting it go bad.
In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about how to store caviar, how long it stays good in and outside of the fridge, what happens if you eat spoiled caviar, and more.
Does Caviar Go Bad?
Unfortunately, yes, caviar does go bad. Caviar is a perishable food that must be kept in a refrigerated environment even when sealed. It must also be refrigerated after unsealed if there is any left that is.
Jump to the section to learn about the best practices when storing and preserving sturgeon caviar.
The Best Way to Store Caviar
You’ve purchased some caviar and you’re now wondering what’s the best method to store it. Like a rare and expensive wine, caviar must be stored with proper care to keep its freshness, flavors, and integrity.
It is recommended to store caviar in a refrigerated area of around 32 Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) and its original packaging.
Storing it in an environment that is too cold may freeze the eggs and introduce moisture, which can disrupt its taste and eventually result in being spoiled. By that same token, storing the caviar in an environment that is too warm will also spoil it.
How Long is Caviar Good For?
On average, caviar is good for up to 6 weeks when stored properly. While certain types are more delicate than others, it is generally recommended to enjoy them as fresh as possible. In this section, we discuss how long caviar lasts in different settings.
|Opened Caviar||Sealed Caviar|
|Refrigerator||24 to 48 hours||4 to 6 weeks|
|Room temp.||24 hours||24-36 hours|
How Long Does Caviar Last in the Fridge?
Unopened (sealed) caviar in the fridge
A sealed tin or jar of fresh caviar that is properly refrigerated can be stored for up to six weeks.
We do caution, however, to consult and follow the expiration recommendations on the label of your caviar. While fresh caviar may last up to six weeks, the tin you purchased may have been packaged 3 weeks ago.
It’s also worth seeing if the caviar you purchased contains any preservatives or if it’s pasteurized, which would give it a longer shelf life.
Opened caviar in the fridge
An open tin or jar of caviar can last between 24 and 48 hours in the refrigerator. It is recommended to finish the portion in one sitting but if not possible, to consume the leftovers within 24 hours after opening.
Opened Caviar out of the fridge
An open tin or jar of caviar can last up to 24 hours outside of a fridge at room temperature. Caviar that has been left out for more than 24 hours should be assumed spoiled. Warm weather conditions may accelerate the expiration process.
How Long Does Caviar Last in the Freezer?
Although not recommended, a sealed jar of caviar can be frozen and stored for over a year but it will come at the expense of flavor and texture. We strongly advise against it and only recommend doing so if the alternative is letting it go bad.
How to Tell if Caviar has Gone Bad
There are a few indicators that can be used to tell if caviar has gone bad:
- Smell: does it smell fishier than it should?
- Floating Test: when dropped in water, do the eggs sink or float?
- Color: does the color look off?
The best indicator to tell if caviar is spoiled is the smell. The caviar will smell a lot fishier than it should. Remember that caviar has a very light and faint fish taste and flavor. If your tin of caviar has a strong fishy smell it’s probably best to ditch it.
Like all eggs, the floating test is quite reliable. Drop a few caviar eggs in a cup of water, if they float the eggs are spoiled and should not be eaten.
Lastly, inspecting the color. Although this is a bit of a tricky one given the wide range of colors, it should be fairly easy if you’re familiar with the specific type of caviar.
If you believe your jar of caviar is spoiled, we recommend disposing of the whole thing just to be safe.
What Happens if You Eat Spoiled Caviar?
Eating expired or spoiled caviar can lead to food poisoning and foodborne illness. If you are not certain whether your caviar is still okay to eat, we recommend not taking any chances.
How to Know if Caviar is Pasteurized?
The easiest way to know if caviar is pasteurized is if it’s sitting on a shelf. Unlike fresh caviar, pasteurized caviar can sit in a sealed tin or jar on a shelf for over a year.
Another method is by examining how it is packaged. Vacuum-sealed tins are most likely to be pasteurized.
Finally, you can inspect the packaging. Although very rarely seen, it may be indicated on the product label.
It’s important to note, however, that once opened, pasteurized caviar should be enjoyed like fresh caviar and consumed entirely in one sitting or within 48 hours at the very most.
- Fresh caviar that is sealed can last up to 6 weeks in the fridge
- Caviar should be stored in the fridge at 32 °F or 0 °C
- Opened caviar can last up to 24 hours at room temperature and 48 hours in the fridge
- Sealed fresh caviar can be stored in a freezer for up to 1 year
- Caviar that has gone bad will most likely smell very fishy