To check the quality of caviar, place a few caviar eggs in a container of hot water. If they become soft or dissolve, it is fake caviar made from gelatin and algae. If the water is colored, you bought colored caviar from another fish. Real sturgeon caviar does not lose color and does not dissolve in water. If you pour boiling water over it, it will practically boil and become dense. Fake caviar will soften and simply burst when pressed.
Unfortunately, in pursuit of dishonest profits, scammers, under the guise of an expensive product, sell fake caviar. Given the high price of this product, unscrupulous suppliers continue to successfully deceive many buyers, constantly improving their technologies for creating a counterfeit product.
Fake caviar has no value, and its only advantage is its low price. It cannot be compared to natural caviar’s taste and useful properties. In order not to buy fake caviar, you should take a closer look at its appearance.
How Can You Tell Good-Quality Caviar? How to Choose Good Caviar?
To tell whether caviar is real, you need to check the following characteristics:
- Caviar Appearance
Real sturgeon caviar has a characteristic color and size of eggs. If the caviar is of bright black color without shades, it is probably artificial caviar. Another sign of artificial caviar is a white coating on the surface. Pay attention to the density of caviar in the package — when the can is tilted, it should not slide down the walls or lie in a sticky lump.
In order not to buy fake caviar, you should take a closer look at its appearance. What is real caviar? Real caviar eggs cannot be perfectly spherical in shape. If you are offered such a fish product, then it is most likely protein. Of course, the size of real caviar depends on the type of fish, but even the largest beluga is several times smaller than fake caviar.
Real, high-quality caviar does not have a pronounced fishy smell. In the manufacture of artificial black caviar, it is necessary to introduce additional flavors to drown out the taste of gelatin. Natural high-quality caviar should not have any white coating.
Often sellers of fake black caviar treat caviar with vegetable oil to give it a fresh look and shine. Before buying, rub the eggs with your fingers, if there is an oil trace, then they are treated with oil. When pressed with a spoon, a real egg should burst. If it remains elastic, then it is fake.
Good quality caviar should be uniform and crumbly. Look at the light through the glass packaging with caviar – there should be no liquid or sticky eggs in a jar. If the jar is tilted, the contents should not float. You can shake the tin jar, if you hear squelching sounds, then the caviar is of poor quality or fake.
Some unscrupulous producers mix eggs of different quality in one jar. Waste or spoiled product is usually placed under the top quality layer. To make sure you don’t buy such a sandwich, use a small spoon to remove a couple of eggs from the bottom of the jar. They should be crumbly and not dry.
- Taste and Smell
Real caviar has practically no fish smell but has a subtle aroma of the sea. If the caviar has a pronounced fishy smell, this is most likely a fake or a sign that the caviar is spoiled. The taste of sturgeon caviar is very delicate, with nutty-creamy notes, sometimes with a slight bitterness. The presence of pronounced bitterness is unacceptable, this may indicate that harmful preservatives have been added to the product. An excess of salt is also a bad sign. Most likely, this caviar was prepared in violation of the technologies and standards.
The manufacturer is by far the most important criteria. Make sure that it is a legit manufacturer that follows all the necessary standards and has all the necessary documents.
- Container and Documents
Legal black caviar is sold in tin and glass jars. Glass containers allow you to immediately visually assess the type of caviar, color, egg size. Checking the quality of caviar in a tin can is a little more difficult, but possible. Shake the tin jar — if the caviar “dangles” in it or it feels like there is too much liquid in the jar, it is better not to buy such caviar.
Of course, from the point of view of hygiene and consumer qualities, it is better to buy packaged black caviar. After all, it is not known when the loose caviar was produced and opened, in what conditions it was stored. In order not to buy fake caviar, you need to carefully study the packaging.
On the factory packaging, there must be an inscription: “Sturgeon caviar”. The label must contain information on the type of fish: beluga, sturgeon, stellate sturgeon, sterlet. On the etiquette with real caviar, it is indicated on what technical conditions it was released.
The expiration date can also tell a lot about the authenticity of caviar. Unpasteurized grains cannot be stored for more than two months, and pasteurized shelf life does not exceed eight months. The shelf life of pressed caviar cannot be more than a month at all. If the jar has a shelf life of more than 12 months, then this is most likely a fake or preservatives were used in the production.
Be sure to pay attention to the composition indicated on the package: it should not contain anything except caviar, salt, and preservative. Pasteurized caviar contains nothing at all except salt and caviar. Vegetable oil and any other additives (borax, sodium benzoate) are a sign of counterfeit or poor quality products.
You also need to pay attention to the relevant documentation. Conscientious manufacturers always provide a declaration of conformity for the product, it can be required at any point of sale. The documents must indicate that the caviar is legally produced on an aquaculture farm.
You need to buy black caviar only in trusted stores. It is available for sale in almost all major retail chains. But the goods at a low price from private traders are almost certainly poaching caviar, obtained by the barbaric slaughter method and salted in violation of all conceivable norms. Also, the purchase of illegally obtained caviar is direct support for the poaching industry.
Real sturgeon caviar cannot be cheap. Its production is a very costly and laborious process. The sturgeon grows very slowly, and it is necessary to make a lot of efforts to raise a healthy mature individual before obtaining eggs. Cheap caviar is almost certainly a fake or illegally obtained product.
Types of Counterfeit Black Caviar
- Colored caviar of non-sturgeon fish. They use grains of caviar from pike, cod, capelin, or even halibut. It can be sold separately or mixed with real black caviar.
- Artificial imitation of seaweed caviar.
- Artificial imitation of tinted gelatin caviar with the addition of chemicals.
- Black caviar obtained by poachers. Although it is inherently not a fake, it poses a huge danger to human health. Since the usual habitat and feeding of sturgeon is the bottom, it is important to understand that in water bodies all toxic and harmful substances settle there. Real black caviar, which is sold, is produced on aquaculture farms in environmentally friendly conditions.
How to Protect Yourself From Purchasing Counterfeit Black Caviar?
First of all, you need to know the features of the factory packaging of real caviar after its extraction. Remember, real caviar is sold only in cans or glass with a tin lid. All other packaging methods, no matter how beautiful they are called (for example, barrel black caviar), is counterfeit.
Only certain manufacturers have permission to supply black caviar. They will never supply caviar to the markets in any plastic containers or barrels. All products from private traders are either poaching caviar that is hazardous to health, or fake. Remember, you should buy caviar strictly in tin or glass jars with a lid.
Glass jars are perfect for visual inspection of caviar. At the same time, if you shake an iron jar with caviar, you can conclude that this is a fake product. Also, be sure to pay attention to the composition of the product indicated on the jar. In real caviar there is nothing but caviar, edible salt and preservative. Mentioning anything else, even ordinary vegetable oil, will already indicate to you that caviar is fake.
Also, be sure to pay attention to the name of the fish you are going to buy caviar. Catching beluga is prohibited by law, so if beluga caviar is indicated, be sure that this is counterfeit.
The price of black caviar in most cases also indicates its origin. The lowered price should signal to you about the danger of purchasing a counterfeit or hazardous to health product of unknown expiration date and place of origin.
Be sure to look at the manufacturer indicated on the packaging; it should be located in territorial proximity to the production region.
In an attempt to save money, you can easily buy something completely different from what is actually black caviar, and in the worst case, even harm your health. It is very important not to fall for the tricks of dishonest scammers and not to be an unwitting sponsor of poaching activities, buying black caviar of unknown origin. Be sure to pay attention to the points described above when buying black caviar. And let it bring joy and pleasure to you and your loved ones.