Does Caviar Go Bad?

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Caviar tastes better and lasts longer when chilled.
Caviar tastes better and lasts longer when chilled. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

All eggs go bad eventually, and caviar is no different. These specialty fish eggs have a limited shelf life that is influenced by many factors, such as packaging and temperature. Caviar is a delicacy -- and relatively pricey, too -- so it should never go to waste because of poor storage. Know how to keep it from going bad too quickly so you can enjoy it to the fullest.

How to Buy

The type of caviar that you buy influences its longevity. Like deli meats, caviar is sold fresh or pre-packaged. Buying fresh comes at a cost -- and not just a higher price tag. Fresh caviar won’t last as long as pre-packaged caviar, so shop according to when you plan to serve it. Fresh caviar stays fresh for only a few days, so don’t buy it now for a party next week.

Keeping It Fresh

If you buy pre-packaged caviar, it may come in one of two types of packaging. The first is a glass jar, which is vacuum-sealed to lock in freshness. If unopened, this caviar will remain fresh for as long as six weeks. The second type of container is a tin, which will keep your caviar fresh for only about two weeks. Whether you buy fresh or pre-packaged, store your caviar in the coldest part of the fridge -- usually near the back, away from the door -- to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Saving the Leftovers

You may not eat all of your caviar in one sitting, and opening the package drastically shortens the caviar's longevity. Once your caviar has been opened, it retains its quality for only about two or three days -- and only if you refrigerate it properly. It's not a good idea to freeze certain types of caviar, because it can become soft and mushy, ruining its signature texture. You may keep it extra cold by storing it in a bowl of ice inside your refrigerator.

A Dish Best Served Cold

The two worst things for caviar are oxygen and heat, so serve them properly to enjoy their quality. Keep the eggs as cold as possible until you eat them by serving them in a dish on ice. This ensures that your caviar stays cold until you’re ready to package it back up and put it back in the refrigerator. Cold caviar doesn’t just last longer -- the temperature accentuates flavors that could be lost if the eggs heat up. Chilled is the best way to eat it even if you don’t plan to save some for leftovers.

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