The first factor to look at when storing caviar is how it is packaged. The biggest difference to note is whether the caviar is canned, frozen or thawed (non-canned). Many people will keep caviar in the refrigerator whether it is canned or not. While this is always a safe method to storage, it is not necessary with canned caviar. In the United States, any caviar that is sealed in a can must contain preservatives to ensure food safety. This is done to avoid the growth of serious illnesses, like the potentially fatal botulism. Due to this, canned caviar can be stored outside the refrigerator until it is past the expiration date. Once opened it must be stored in a refrigerator, and will go bad within 30 days if sealed in a container.
If the caviar is not canned then it can be stored in two different ways. If it is frozen then it can be stored in a residential freezer for 3 months until it starts going bad. Once any caviar is thawed it must be stored in a refrigerator in a sealed container where once again it will go bad within 30 days. Any caviar left out of the refrigerator will go bad within 24 hours.
Another factor for proper storage of caviar is where in the refrigerator you store it. Now most of us know that heat rises, so the coldest part of your refrigerator will always be on the very bottom, which is where you should always be storing meats and seafood. Not only because of the temperature, but because juices for the meats can leak out and get on anything below them and contaminate anything they come in contact with. Caviar is no exception to this rule. Always keep your caviar stored on the bottom shelf of your fridge. The cold will keep it preserved longer, and if any caviar juices leak out, then there is no risk of cross-contamination.
The storage of caviar is rather simple and easy to follow. It is not too different from the proper storage of other meats and seafood. If you follow these guidelines then you can drastically decrease your risk of food borne illness, and always remember the golden rule; when it doubt, throw it out.
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