This delicacy is a decadent ingredient with sushi, appetizers, and other dishes. But what if you have some leftovers? How long does salmon roe last in the fridge, and how do you store it?
I like salmon roe with fresh sushi, on some buttered toast, and sometimes simply on its own. It makes for a luxurious culinary treat, even if it’s only an occasional one. That’s because it can also be a bit spendy. Fortunately, with proper storage, you can extend its shelf life.
In fact, salmon roe can stay good for up to 6 weeks in the fridge, as long as you take steps to prevent it from drying out.
I’ll show you how to store salmon roe so it stays fresh for longer. Plus, I’ll walk through how to freeze it.
What is salmon roe?
Roe is a broad category for the unfertilized eggs of marine animals. So simply put, salmon roe — also called salmon caviar or red caviar— is unfertilized salmon eggs. It can be sourced from a range of salmon species, such as coho, sockeye salmon, king salmon (also called Chinook salmon), chum, and Atlantic salmon.
While salmon roe is among the more common roe types, it can come from a variety of other fish as well. Popular options include cod, capelin, pollock, and trout roe. But it can also be sourced from shrimp, scallops, lobsters, and other seafood, though those are less common options, at least in the U.S.
The one exception is sturgeon, whose unfertilized eggs are referred to as caviar. So purists will say salmon caviar isn’t technically caviar at all; that caviar can only come from sturgeon. But whether you prefer to say salmon roe or salmon caviar is entirely up to you!
How is salmon roe used?
Salmon roe is a popular delicacy in Nordic and Japanese cuisine, especially sushi. And these fish eggs can be used top other dishes as well, including salads, flatbreads, hors d’oeuvres, and crackers.
One particular dish that uses salmon roe is blini. These savory pancakes are traditionally from Eastern Europe, specifically Russia and Ukraine, and are typically made with buckwheat flour. While they can be topped with a wide range of foods, a common version includes sour cream, cream cheese, or crème fraîche, along with smoked salmon and salmon roe.
How do you store salmon roe?
Salmon roe is usually sold in glass jars or metal tins. These are ideal for storage both before and after opening, as long as you reseal them tightly.
The best way to store salmon roe is in the coldest part of your fridge. This is usually the bottom shelf near the back. An unopened container of salmon roe can keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Though, it’s always a good idea to check the expiration date on the packaging. However, after you open it, this delicacy will only stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Any longer than that and you’ll probably start to notice some drop off in both the taste and texture of the roe, so the sooner you consume any salmon roe leftovers, the better they’ll likely be.
❌ Avoid storing salmon roe at room temperature, even if unopened, as it can spoil quickly.
Can you freeze salmon roe?
Yes, you can freeze salmon roe, and it can keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. But should you? That may be the more important question. That’s because freezing salmon roe can affect its texture pretty significantly.
Fresh roe is smooth and firm. But freezing and thawing salmon roe can give it an overly soft and oily consistency. Plus, it can sap some of its flavor. So, if you plan to eat your salmon roe within a few days after opening it, keeping it in the fridge is your best option.
How to freeze salmon roe
If you absolutely need to freeze some salmon roe, here’s the best way to do it:
1. Transfer the salmon roe from its original packaging to an airtight container or sealable glass jar. This will help prevent freezer burn. And it can help fishy odors from the roe from seeping into other foods in the freezer.
2. Wrap the container or jar in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag to give it an extra layer of insulation from the cold air.
3. Label and date the bag so you know when you froze it.
How to thaw frozen salmon roe
Take your time thawing out the roe. For best results, simply place it in your fridge and let it defrost for a few hours. If you try to rush it by using the microwave or leaving it at room temperature, the roe will take on a mushy consistency.
Plus, letting it sit at room temp for too long can allow harmful bacteria to start forming on it.
How can I tell if salmon roe has spoiled?
For a lot of foods, the smell test is a good way to tell if they’ve gone bad. But salmon roe smells naturally fishy, so you’ll want to pay attention to some other specific odors.
If you notice a sour, cheesy, or very strong fishy smell, those could all be signs that the roe has spoiled.
Also, look for any discoloration or a change in texture. Good quality, fresh salmon roe should be a vibrant orange or red with a firm texture. So if it looks dull or wrinkly, those could be other indications that it’s no longer fresh and should be discarded.
Is salmon roe good for you?
Salmon roe is rich in essential nutrients like vitamins A and D, as well as vitamin B12. It’s also high in antioxidants and is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can help promote heart health.
But experts also caution that salmon roe can lead to foodborne illnesses like E. coli if not processed correctly. And it may be harmful for those with a roe allergy, which can result in stomach pain, throat irritation, and in some cases hospitalization.
The main difference between the two is the source. Caviar consists of unfertilized Sturgeon eggs. Common varieties include Beluga, Sevruga, Osetra, and White Sturgeon. Roe is the unfertilized eggs of other fish and seafood, including salmon, shrimp, lobsters, scallops, and others.
An unopened, vacuum-sealed container of fresh caviar can stay good for up to 6 weeks in the fridge. After it’s opened, it will have a limited shelf life of about one week in the refrigerator. Though it’s best to eat it as soon as possible after opening.
The ideal temperature to store salmon roe is between 33°-40° Fahrenheit. A good rule of thumb is to keep it at the back of your fridge on the bottom shelf, as it tends to be the coldest part of your refrigerator.
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