What is Caviar?
Caviar, the most expensive global food, is the salted eggs of the sturgeon fish. The caviar comes from the Persian word “Khaviar” which means bearing eggs. It is well noting that Caviar is different with roe, which is another term for fish eggs. A variety of substitute Caviars made with roe from different fish species, but “true” caviar comes only from sturgeons.
Caviar is known as the most royal and luxury breakfast worldwide, usually being eaten raw or with yolk and small chopped onions. Some also eat small amounts of Caviar with aromatic vegetables or bread and butter. Others prefer to eat Caviar cold and without any other supplementary food. Caviar is consumed worldwide as a delicacy, garnish or an appetizer during the special events, weddings and cocktail receptions. Caviar is also a major part of the menu in many five star restaurants, hotels, and cruise ships! For decades caviar is known as a unique and luxury appetizer or side dish.
The Caspian Sea located in the north of Iran is known as the largest source of Caviar globally, supplying over 90% of the world’s Caviar. 93% of the world’s sturgeon fishes are in the Caspian Sea and the preservation, maintenance, reproduction, and release of sturgeon fishes in the Caspian Sea is governed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Annually around 20~22 million sturgeon fishes are released in the Caspian Sea by Iran in order to protect their growth.
Iran and Russia as the main producers of Caviar in Asia, along with other Caspian neighboring countries including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan are old and experienced producers of Caviar. Now over 90 fields are active in the production of Caviar in the north of Iran and 50% of them are in Mazandaran, Gilan and Golestan provinces. Other are spread out in Hormozgan, Fars, Ghom and Khuzestan provinces of Iran.
Other countries including China, Japan, Israel, USA, Germany, France and etc. have been producing Caviar in new decades. China has invested largely in Caviar production but as Iran and Russia were the first producers and exporters of Caviar in global markets, old customers of Caviar cannot trust in Caviars of other origins. This is the reason that international buyers are seeking Caviars of the Caspian Sea eagerly.
Having an appropriate climate to produce different kinds of fishes and Caviars, low facility costs in comparison with European countries, high experience, and technical knowledge have made Iran a popular Caviar producer in global markets with high potential to boost its production. The top exporters of Caviar and Caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs by country and continent are shown in the below charts:
Caviar is well known all around the world and every year more and more countries are interesting to buy these nutritious tiny black pearls! It is well noting that around 20% of the Caspian Sea Caviars are exported to the USA. Other main importers of Caviar and Caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs by country and continent are as follow:
Beluga, sevruga, and osetra are the three main types of caviar.
- Beluga: It is one of the oldest, rarest, and most amazing types of sturgeon fish, comes from the species Huso Huso. It typically weighs 80 to 400 pounds when harvested and may weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Around 15% of its weight is eggs. The Caviar of beluga fish is the most valuable and the most expensive kind of Caviar in the world. It is more valuable than the other two types of Caviar which is light gray and large in size. The female Huso huso doesn’t bear eggs until around 25 years old and may live up to 150 years. Beluga with a rich, creamy flavor and delicate texture is the most popular and esteemed of all Caviars.
- Sevruga: It is obtained from Acipenser stellatus. These small sturgeons are usually less than 50 pounds. Sevruga is light gray in color and has a creamy texture, so exquisite in flavor.
- Osetra: Also known as Osciotr is a rare golden Caviar (or Imperial caviar), comes from Acipenser guldenstaedti. These sturgeons are in various sizes from 40 to 160 pounds. This golden caviar is highly prized and the eggs of this species are often more brownish in color. The caviar has a distinctive nutty flavor.
Caviar is rich in vitamins and minerals, including omega 3, which aids to improve a healthy nervous, circulatory and immune system. Caviar is full of vitamins A, E, B6, Iron, Magnesium, and Selenium. Moreover, it is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, one serving of caviar can eliminate an adult’s daily requirement of Vitamin B12. Caviar’s benefits are as follow:
- Makes the heart-healthy
- Prevents cancer
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves immune system
- Improves eyesight
- Strengthens bones as it has Vitamin E and Calcium
- Avoids depression
- Solves memory problems
- Improves anemia
- Prevents Alzheimer