Around the world, red caviar is a synonym for luxury. Virtually no celebrations or banquets can do without this delicacy. In the West, red caviar is often called "Russian", and even the Japanese gave the salmon product the second name in the Russian style - caviar. Although most Russians had caviar on the tables much later than is commonly believed. And many still believe that the only virtue of fish caviar is its delicious taste. In fact, this is one of the most useful products.
Where in Russia is "red gold"?
Many will recall a scene from an old Soviet film, where one of the heroes asks to the table with caviar "red, black and overseas eggplant." But the main paradox is that they did not know about any red caviar in the time of Ivan the Terrible.
For the first time on the royal tables, this product appeared at least a century and a half after his death - at the end of the 17th century, only after the roads to Siberia were built. Incidentally, the first batch of "red zloty" brought by merchants to St. Petersburg did not cause any interest. Merchants practically gave away goods to the poorest taverns.
But the inhabitants of the Far East had a completely different attitude to red caviar. There, the product has always been held in high esteem. For the peoples of the north, fish eggs served as second bread. This delicious, nutritious and very healthy food was used by fishing families in fresh, boiled, fried and dried form. But the familiar salted caviar appeared only in the first decade of the twentieth century. And as soon as someone thought of processing the product with saline, it instantly gained popularity throughout Russia. A truly royal dish salmon eggs became only under Nicholas II. At the same time, the demand for caviar of chum salmon and pink salmon first appeared.
As the popularity of "red gold" increased, so did the price of it. Now no one would have guessed to distribute caviar to the poor practically for nothing.
What is caviar
Caviar is eggs that lay fish, mollusks, amphibians. For gastronomic purposes, 3 types of product are used:
- sturgeon (black) - in Russia its extraction is prohibited;
- salmon (red);
- partial (from pike, roach, pike perch, etc.).
In addition, in the 1960s, the Soviet Union created the first imitation of natural caviar - a protein product that looks like a delicacy, and tastes like gelatin with a touch of margarine and fish. Today, gelatin, seaweed extract and some fish species are used for artificial caviar.
Varieties of red caviar
Even a person who does not know anything about fish, but loves red caviar, noticed: from different manufacturers the product may look different (differ in color, diameter of eggs) and a little - to taste. The thing is that the source of "red gold" can be different types of fish from the salmon family:
- Chinook salmon
- pink salmon;
- salmon (Atlantic salmon);
- red salmon;
- coho salmon;
All of them are slightly different from each other, but most importantly, their beneficial properties are the same. And the choice of a certain type of product is just a matter of taste.
The eggs of this Pacific fish are bright red, about 7 mm in diameter (the largest of all salmon species). It tastes tender, with a slight bitterness. The shell is loose. Chinook salmon caviar (it is royal salmon) is the most expensive.
Caviar of this fish, as a rule, does not exceed 6 mm, color - from amber to orange. It differs from other species in a regular spherical shape. In the grain, you can see the dark spot of the embryo. It is called royal, and the Japanese use it for most fish dishes and as a decor.
Pink salmon caviar is bright orange in diameter with a diameter of 5 mm. It is the most popular for at least two reasons. First, pink salmon is the most prolific among salmon. Secondly, the taste of caviar is universal and almost everyone likes it. But the shell of the grains is fragile, it easily breaks when mixed.
The caviar of this fish is easily recognizable by its red color and size not exceeding 4.5 mm. It is rare in the European market. Most often it is used on the American continent, along which sockeye salmon live.
4 mm in diameter, dark red (almost burgundy) color and a bitter taste give out the caviar of this fish among other varieties of delicacy. Not as popular as pink salmon, but its beneficial properties are not inferior to other types of "red gold".
This is the smallest red caviar - about 2-3 mm. It differs from other types in color brightness (from rich yellow to orange). It tastes salty with light bitterness. Recently, gourmet attention to this delicacy has intensified.
The popularity of flying fish roe (tobiko) has grown along with interest in sushi. But in reality, it is not red — in its natural form, this delicacy is transparent, and the desired color (red, black) is given during cooking. The second difference is that flying fish do not belong to salmon.
Caviar production technology is a fairly easy process. The eggs are freed from the membranes, passed through a special sieve (to sort by diameter) and either covered with salt or poured with brine.
Caviar salted in July-August (spawning period) is considered to be the best. It is important to know that this product deteriorates extremely quickly. Salted fish eggs can "hold out" for no more than 4 months. Therefore, all other products with a longer “life” contain preservatives. Usually it is E200 (sorbic acid), E239 (urotropin), E400 (glycerin) and antiseptics (but not more than 0.1%). Today, this is the only way to allow humanity to enjoy the delicacy at any time of the year.
The nutritional value
Salmon caviar has earned the fame of one of the most wholesome and nutritious foods. 100 g of the delicacy contains more than 250 kcal, about 25 g of protein, 18 g of fat and 4 g of carbohydrates. Proteins contained in the product (almost 32% of the total composition) are absorbed by the human body much more easily than proteins from meat or milk. Also in caviar there is an impressive amount of folic acid, potassium, phosphorus, and in terms of caloric content, “fish eggs” exceed meat and dairy products (practically containing no carbohydrate and fat).
According to nutritionists, it is possible to take capsules with polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9) regularly for several months, or you can eat 2-3 small sandwiches with red caviar daily and the biological result will be the same. By the way, caviar contains about 3.5 times more Omega-substances than directly in the fish fillet.
In addition, salmon eggs contain:
- vitamin B12;
- vitamin C;
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
Benefits for the body
But caviar is not just a festive delicacy. The rich chemical composition of the product makes it extremely healthy. So what is the use of "red gold"?
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Cardiologists recommend consuming approximately 1 g of omega-3s daily to maintain heart health. And interestingly, 1 tablespoon of red caviar contains this useful substance in quantities significantly exceeding the minimum recommended dose.
Speaking about the benefits of Omega-3, it is important to recall that these polyunsaturated fatty acids maintain normal blood pressure and also prevent clogging of arteries. In combination, this reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, omega-3s play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Salmon caviar is an excellent source of vitamin B12. It is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, and also helps the body get the maximum benefit from fatty acids. By the way, approximately 10-13% of older people experience an acute shortage of this vitamin. And a sandwich with a delicacy will serve as the simplest (and also tasty) solution for restoring vitamin balance.
Selenium and vitamin E, which is part of salmon caviar, are indispensable for protecting body cells from free radicals. Researchers suggest that it is free radicals that are the main cause of heart disease or cancer. And caviar is a great way to protect yourself from the risk of these diseases.
Other benefits of red caviar:
- Vitamin A - is necessary for the proper development of cells, improve vision and strengthen immunity;
- Vitamin D - Important for bone health
- potassium - prevents the accumulation of kidney stones, regulates blood pressure.
In addition, the consumption of caviar will prevent:
- growth of malignant tumors;
- early aging
- disturbances in the work of the brain and nervous system;
- thyroid dysfunction;
- problems with the organs of the reproductive system.
The dangerous properties of salmon caviar
The first thing to keep in mind is caviar is a fairly high-calorie product.
Excessive cravings for delicacies can cause overweight. A safe portion is called a serving of 2-3 teaspoons of the product. In addition, the abuse of fish eggs is fraught with edema (due to the high salt content), exacerbation of renal diseases (due to purines, which are part of the composition) and digestive disorders (due to preservatives).
It is also better to abstain from caviar for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under 3 years old.
"Red Gold" for beauty
Salmon caviar contains a full range of vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair, skin and nails. And the antioxidant properties of fish eggs have found their application in anti-aging creams and serums.
Potassium and selenium included in caviar increase skin elasticity and prevent inflammation. The complex of omega-substances eliminates edema, and also promotes cell regeneration, accelerating the production of collagen (in some cases by 67%). Vitamin E, found in high concentrations in salmon eggs, is called beauty vitamin. Adequate intake of this beneficial substance will provide a beautiful look for hair, nails and skin.
How to recognize caviar imitation:
- Too cheap.
- All eggs are of the same regular shape.
- There are no dark spots of the embryo.
- Sticks to the teeth.
- It has a very pungent smell of herring.
- It is soluble in hot water.
How to recognize high-quality caviar:
- The bank must indicate:
- production date (squeezed inside);
- product grade;
- name of fish;
- a complete list of ingredients (while salt should not be more than 6%);
- manufacturer's address;
- The eggs are whole and the same in color.
- The consistency is not too thin.
- Shell "grains" of medium density.
- The absence of third-party particles in the bank.
How to store a delicacy
To preserve the granular consistency, this delicacy should not be sent to the freezer (after defrosting it will turn into porridge). Also, you can not keep the jar with the product open for more than 2 days (this is an ideal environment for the propagation of microorganisms). Nutritionists do not advise keeping open caviar in a tin, but advise placing it in a glass dish with a slice of lemon (this trick will help to slightly prolong the storage time of the product).
How to eat
Food lovers say the only right way is to eat caviar - with a small silver spoon and without anything. According to seafood lovers, this is the only way to try the real taste of the delicacy. But nutritionists advise combining caviar with boiled chicken protein or cucumber (the most correct combination from the point of view of biochemistry).
But most often at the festive tables, “red gold” appears as a component of gourmet sandwiches or pancake toppings. But as for the drinks, the red caviar goes well with brut champagne, or with a stronger drink.
This truly royal delicacy is one of the most expensive food. But, knowing the useful properties of red caviar, it’s not a pity to pay a little more for a jar of the coveted “red gold”.