Did You Know There Was A Ban On Some Caviar?
I'm not sure if there is an official time of year when caviar is more popular, but it seems to me it's around during the holidays more than other times of the year. Maybe that's because I go to more holiday parties where they are likely to be serving these incredible eggs.
All About Caviar
I just wrote an article about caviar that describes the difference between the three most popular imported caviars from the Caspian Sea. It takes a look at Beluga, Osetra, Sevruga caviar as well as how to buy caviar, what's it going to cost, how to store it, what to serve with it and where to buy it online.
If you are thinking of experiencing any of these expensive caviars, I highly recommend you read the article, do your own research and buy it from a reputable store that know what they are doing and are willing to educate you.
Import Ban on Beluga Caviar
Did you know the US Fish and Wildlife Service has protected Beluga sturgeon from the Caspian Sea and Black Sea under the U.S. Endangered Species Act prohibiting the import or export and interstate sale of products made from them including caviar?
Not that I can afford Beluga Caviar at about $150 per ounce, but if I could, I couldn't buy it unless I lived in Florida. For some reason and I'm not sure why, you can buy Beluga caviar in Florida. I'm going to call around tomorrow to see if I can find the reason for this, but if anyone knows why, please post it in the reply below.
Some Legal Beluga Caviar Still Available
If you go to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serve web site for Beluga Caviar, they say,
"Some legal beluga caviar may still be available for purchase in the United States. Consumers may continue to buy beluga in interstate commerce (i.e., from U.S. vendors outside their home state) provided the caviar was imported before the 2005 bans went into effect and the original export permit authorizing trade from the country of origin was issued no more than 18 months before the date of their purchase."
That being said, I thought the shelf life of imported Caspian Sea caviar wasn't that long so why would you buy any caviar that was imported before the 2005 bans went into effect. Again I will try to find answers, but if you are an expert in caviar, I would sure like to speak with you.
I called one of the top Caviar distributors in Florida and asked them about Beluga caviar and why they can sell it in Florida. It turns out that they can sell any Beluga caviar from the Caspian Sea that was already purchased before the ban date of September 30, 2005. The only stipulation is they can only sell it Interstate.
When asked about shelf life, it was explained to me that the 6 to 8 week maximum shelf life starts when the caviar is transferred from the larger imported 4-pound tins and repackaged into the smaller tins and jars.
When asked about the shelf life of the larger 4-pound tins, I was told they have an ideal shelf life of up to 3 years. Not that they go bad after three years, but after that the quality diminishes. They also explained it is critical they store them in temperatures just above freezing and they rotate the tins often.