How much is black caviarHow much is black caviarCaviar, which Pushkin«встретил» гостей, проживая в столь неприглядной обстановке, и в его эпоху, и раньше было на Руси вдоволь. Хорошее свидетельство тому— воспоминания В.А. Гиляровского: «Чернелась в серебряных ведрах, в кольце прозрачного льда, стерляжья мелкая икра, высилась над краями горкой темная осетровая и крупная, зернышко к зернышку, белужья. Ароматная паюсная, мартовская, с Сальянских промыслов, пухла на серебряных блюдах; далее сухая мешочная — тонким ножом пополам каждая икринка режется— высилась, сохраняя форму мешков, а лучшая в мире паюсная икра с особым землистым ароматом, ачуевская-кучугур, стояла огромными глыбами на блюдах…» Тот же Гиляровский пишет о волжских бурлаках, которые предпочитали икре воблу, — «обрыдла» она им…Что же произошло со всем этим изобилием и великолепием после того, как в XX веке черной икре присвоили статус деликатеса мирового значения и она перешла в разряд наидефицитнейших продуктов? Люди старшего и среднего поколений, конечно же, помнят бумажные стаканчики с 30 г лакомства на донышке, которые можно было заполучить разве что в праздничных заказах при обязательном соседстве с печеньем «Привет» и плавлеными сырками «Дружба».Сегодняшняя ситуация с икрой, с одной стороны, в корне изменилась — она входит в ассортимент всех приличных магазинов, с другой — из-за чудовищных масштабов браконьерства в продаже практически нет настоящей черной икры. Поэтому понимающие толк и заботящиеся о своем реноме владельцы и шеф-повара дорогих ресторанов вынуждены постоянно находиться в поиске качественного продукта.Рыба без чешуиОсетровые, относящиеся к группе лучеперых, промежуточной между хрящевыми (акулами, скатами) и обычными костистыми рыбами, существовали еще 250 млн. лет назад. Они старше динозавров и млекопитающих и обладают рядом архаических черт строения: основа их скелета — упругая хорда, костные позвонки и наличие небольшого количества чешуи лишь у основания хвостового плавника. Поэтому по правилам еврейской кошерной кухни употребление черной икры и самих осетровых не допускается — раз нет чешуи, значит, это не рыба.Обитают осетровые в придонных слоях воды, они живут в соленой воде, но приходят в реки на нерест. Могут жить до 100 лет, достигая около 1,5 т веса. У этих необычных рыб больше хромосом, чем у человека, и они обладают высокими адаптивными способностями. Но несмотря на это, из-за постоянных экологических проблем и «перевыполнения планов по улову» их численность угрожающе сокращается с каждым годом.Всего в мире насчитывают 23 вида осетровых, но только 3 из них являются «поставщиками» икры — , осетр и севрюга. Самая крупная и наиболее редкая — белуга — достигает более 4 м в длину и может весить более тонны. Ее популяция за последние 20 лет ХХ века сократилась на 90%. Осетр обычно весит менее 200 кг и редко превышает 2 м длины, хотя были времена, когда гигантских осетров из Волги практически ежедневно доставляли к царскому столу, причем, как говорят, в серебряных ваннах. Самая распространенная из осетровых — севрюга — не превышает 1,5 м длины и чаще всего весит около 25 кг.Черную икру подразделяют не только по виду рыб, но и по размеру, цвету, вкусу, аромату. По вкусу больше всего ценится серебристо-серая белужья икра. У нее самые крупные по размеру икринки, утонченный вкус и практически полное отсутствие специфического запаха. Чуть мельче — темно-бронзовая осетровая, обладающая слегка ощутимым ароматом. У севрюжьей — икринки самые мелкие, черного цвета, с сильным специфическим вкусом и запахом.Знаменитую «золотую икру» получают от белуги-альбиноса, впрочем, особенными достоинствами, за исключением необыкновенного золотисто-янтарного цвета, она не обладает.By the way of processing black caviar is divided intograiny, pressed and venous. Granular make of strong, elastic, uniform in size and color of the eggs. Pasteurized caviar is heated, sometimes with the addition of antiseptics, in closed form it can be stored for about 8 months, and in the open - only 1-2 days. Payusnuyu - they are made from the most fatty sturgeon grain or from a mixture of sturgeon sturgeon and sturgeon caviar. You can also store it for no more than eight months. Yasychnoy caviar is called, not cleaned from the film (jaw), which makes a rather unpleasant impression on a person unprepared because of the abundance of alien inclusions. Previously, in Russia, for the manufacture of "grainy snacks" traditionally used only one type of salt - a blue "grenade" from deep mines somewhere in the territory of the present Perm region. Today, for brine (brine), alas, they simply use Extra salt in the ratio of 45 g of salt to 1 liter of water. By the way, to find out about the level of salt in caviar, which determines its quality, genuine lovers in expensive stores, such as Caviar House in Cannes, are offered a small ball of silver on the finest chain. The ball is dipped on the calf, if it is immediately immersed - the ratio of fats and salt is ideal; if it lingers on the surface, the quality of the delicacy is doubtful.

How to determine the quality of caviar and recognize a fake?

PackagingThe first source of product information is itspackaging. Legal caviar comes in retail in cans of 90 g and in glass jars of 28 g, 56 g and 113 g with tin lids of different colors. Beluga caviar is traditionally packaged in jars with blue, sturgeon - with yellow, stellate sturgeon - with red lids. In the factory banks-washers of 500 and 1 800 g in the markets, not canned caviar, but preserves are sold. They are intended for rapid transport from the fish to the cannery, where they are packaged in cans that allow you to store the product for a long time. At room temperature, caviar in such temporary packages can stand for no more than a day: numerous light fats in its composition rapidly oxidize, forming toxic compounds. Since caviar products are produced exclusively from fresh raw materials and there is no technological freezing method for them, they are manufactured by companies located on the coast. So, all the famous Russian black caviar is produced with the permission of the state in just a few factories of Astrakhan, Volgograd and Kalmykia. If on the package it means that it is “made” at enterprises located in Moscow, Moscow Region or St. Petersburg, rest assured, this is a fake with disturbed technological parameters. Such a delicacy is, at best, made from frozen raw materials, and at worst - diluted with artificial caviar, made in a gelatinous enterprise. Price Another important source of information on delicacy can be a price, depending not so much on the manufacturer, but on the breed of fish. Caviar from the white sturgeon beluga is valued most of all: one kilogram of such products in Russia can cost up to 620 euros, abroad - from 4 to 7 thousand euros. By the way, there can be no official sale of beluga caviar: commercial fishing of this fish is prohibited in Russia. The second place in terms of prevalence and price is occupied by Russian sturgeon caviar: according to expert estimates, its annual production volume amounts to 180 tons per year. 1 kg of a product harvested according to US standards and technology costs about 1,200 dollars, and is valued at 230 euros on the Russian market (450 euros in a supermarket). At the Russian markets close to the extraction areas, a liter of black caviar can be bought for 1 thousand rubles. Most of all - 230 tons per year - mined sturgeon caviar. The cost of 1 kg of delicacy from market traders and chain stores averages 200 euros. Organic indicatorscaviar processing and other factors influence the appearance of the final product. Meanwhile, there are common signs of its quality. Mature caviar, that is, light and large, extracted from fish that have already come to spawn in the river, are of the highest quality. Poachers are usually available young, dark and small caught in the sea. Another indicator of freshness is the firmness and dryness of the eggs, their elasticity and “razboristost” (easy separability from each other). To disguise the unpleasant features of stale products or increase their weight, black tea, vegetable oil and other liquids are sometimes mixed into black grainy caviar. In this case, the eggs swell, lose strength, shrink and burst. Sludge (a viscous liquid on the bottom and walls of dishes) is a sign of poor quality goods. To identify it, you should put a little caviar on a plate and blow it on it: the good one - the eggs easily roll out without sticking to the dishes. As there is no second-sturgeon freshness, so the black delicacy spoils once and for all. The main treachery of stale caviar, unlike fish, is not at all a suspicious odor. It usually does not happen. Stale product give characteristic taste. Violation of the formulation of black caviar may be due to the additional introduction of salt (the optimum content in the product - 4.6%). So peresal delicacies, as a rule, due to the fact that salt mask the shortcomings of the product. More difficult is the case with boric acid that is indistinguishable to taste, which is added during the manufacture of poaching caviar as an antiseptic. The main differences between artificial caviar: 1) natural caviar has a faint smell of fish, artificial flavor is flavored with herring brine, which has a corresponding strong smell; 2) sturgeon caviar, when crushed in the mouth, bursts and splashes, artificial, as is typical of gelatin, sticks to the teeth; 3) in the natural egg, the germinal vesicle (“peephole”) is often seen with the naked eye. However, in the case of partial dilution of natural caviar artificial (up to 15-20%), it is almost impossible to recognize the falsification by organoleptic indicators, alas: it is impossible to do without instrumental methods of examination.

Sparkling "Chibis"

Since in Soviet times, caviar becamea kind of symbol of well-being, the task of national importance arose - to saturate the market with this delicacy, and at least “man-made”. So, in 1960, in the USSR, the first-ever artificial caviar was produced on the Chibis installation. It turned out to be expensive, tasteless, and it was so difficult to make it, that production could be adjusted only in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and the Baltic capitals. It was at this time that the well-known anecdote about Vasya from the factory arose, to which the master instructed him to pick out his eyes from salty kilos, so that the foreign delegation would be shocked by the sight of a simple Soviet man snacking on his work with a caviar sandwich. In the 1970-1980s, continuous work was underway in Gorky to improve technology, which led to the creation of a compact unit that produces a delicacy from milk, gelatin and various additives. The quality of the product was so high that most people who tasted a pseudo-caviar sandwich did not notice the trick. Although this fact, in fairness, can be explained by the fact that they had to try a real caviar infrequently and compare, by and large, there was nothing to it. It was possible to “indulge” with it, except at the elections - this was how people were attracted to the polling stations, moreover - in the canteen of the Bolshoi Theater or the Kremlin Palace of Congresses.

Joyless perspective

International Conservation Organization“Traced” the number of caviar on the world market, as a result of which it turned out that it differs significantly from the officially announced quotas by more than 10 times. That is, for every legitimate jar with delicacy, now, according to various estimates, from 13 to 20 poaching. Around the places chosen for illegal fishing is the foul spirit of the decaying sturgeon remains. Catching fish, poachers throw back males maimed with hooks back into the water, and females rip the belly, take eggs, salt “anyhow” and leave with their prey, leaving giant carcasses to lie down and go out, which is too much trouble. It is not surprising that sturgeon populations, which are also very sensitive to water pollution, are rapidly declining. Около 15 лет назад во Франции, Италии и США began to create sturgeon farms. Today they exist in 20 different countries. These farms breed "early ripening" sturgeon and receive black caviar from them using new technology, without killing fish. But while such a large-scale poaching is flourishing, sturgeons have little chance of leaving the Red Book, and the day is not far off when the famous poster with the slogan “Life is good” written in black will cease to make us smile.

Forced measures

According to official representativesThe International Organization for World Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), many subspecies of the sturgeon family are threatened with extinction. Thus, in 2005, as compared with the middle of 2004, the number of fish in the Caspian Sea declined by more than a third. And after all, it is in the Caspian Sea that 90% of all black caviar coming to world markets is mined. The UN CITES organization, which has been working under the aegis of the UN, has repeatedly appealed to the awareness of caviar exporters, thus trying to set them up to fight poaching. However, these half measures did not take effect. Therefore, in January 2006, the Secretariat of the Geneva Convention CITES announced a temporary ban on the sale of sturgeon and caviar everywhere. This is not a taboo for enterprises breeding sturgeon in captivity. This state of affairs will continue until producing countries provide objective information on the status of the sturgeon population. The size of export quotas for sturgeon was proposed to be established by the producers themselves, after which they must be approved. However, for this they need to prove that the catch and export quotas they propose reflect the current state of the sturgeon population. At the preliminary meeting of the Commission on Marine Resources of the Caspian Sea, held in Astana, the countries-exporters of sturgeon and caviar decided to reduce the catch by 23%, that is, to reduce the catch quotas for sturgeon: for Russia by 30.5% to 258 tons, for Iran by 16% to 500 tons, for Kazakhstan by 12% to 195 tons, for Azerbaijan by 8% to 92 tons; and for caviar production: for Russia by 81% - up to 3.9 tons, for Iran by 15% - up to 51 tons, for Kazakhstan by 17% - up to 13.2 tons and for Azerbaijan by 3% - up to 6.5 tons .

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