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Make Red Salmon Caviar At Home {Video Tutorial}

on July 13 | in Recipes | by | with 21 Comments

My first recollection of caviar is dry heaving into the sink while dad held my hair. Rude shock doesn’t even cover it. Not that the beluga was bad. It was quite tasty actually, but when you’re eight and expecting grape jelly acceptance takes some time.

First impressions can be hard to get past, but if you’re not a huge fan this is a relationship worth working on. It’s for good reason that many cultures consider roe (uncured caviar) THE sacred food for pregnant and nursing mothers. Rich in mood boosting vitamins D and B12, brain building DHA and EPA, plus tons of minerals and supernutrients we don’t have names for yet, roe is ounce for ounce one of the most nutrient dense foods we have.

So for all the mama’s I met in parking lots last weekend that asked what to do with the 47+ pounds we ordered of this stuff, here’s my suggestion. :)

UPDATE: After more experimenting I’ve found a method I like more!

  1. Mix brine (1/3 cup unrefined sea salt and 8 cups water) and place in fridge until really cold
  2. Soak skein for 15 minutes, then cut in half and place half in a bowl.
  3. Submerge the other half of the skein back in the brine and begin working the eggs loose
  4. When all the eggs are removed pour the contents of the bowl over a fine-mesh sieve
  5.  Place collected roe in a bowl and start over with the other half.

Note: Avoid metal wherever possible. It will convey it’s taste to the caviar. I used a fine meshed sieve in the demonstration . . . would have been better if I lined it with a towel. Glass bowls and wooden spoons are best.

Ingredients/Equipment:

  • 1 Full Skein Salmon Roe (about 1 pound)
  • 1/3 Cup Unrefined Sea Salt (where to find sea salt)
  • 8-12 Cups Cold Water
  • Glass Mixing Bowl
  • Plastic or Wood Utensils (Avoid metal when possible while preparing caviar . . .  it will pass on its taste)

Method:

  1. Mix the salt and water until the salt is all dissolved. Get a large bowl of ice water ready.
  2. Place roe sacs in brine and set in fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Go to the faucet and get the water running just about as hot as you can take it. Place a fine-meshed sieve in the sink (preferably lined with a towel so that the metal doesn’t touch the roe).
  4. Using a sharp knife, slit one of the sacs and place it in your hand. Run it under the hot water so that the membrane will contract. Gently massage the eggs away from the membrane and let them fall into the colander. This is the hardest part so take your time. Repeat with the other sac.
  5. When all the eggs are in the colander, submerge them in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes.
  6. Return roe to the salt water brine and place in the fridge for another 15 minutes. (No longer . . . they will be too salty!)
  7. Pour out the brine and let the eggs drain in the sieve for 15 minutes. Using a wooden spoon place caviar into a clean glass jar and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before serving. Consume within 3 weeks.

Wondering what to do with this red gold? Try it over grain-free sushi, or Greek-style as taramasalata, with deviled eggs, or as kisses!

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21 Responses to Make Red Salmon Caviar At Home {Video Tutorial}

  1. Oh, and every single one of the mamas was wearing a baby. True story <3 <3 <3

  2. Mary says:

    This is very interesting. Where do I find the Full Skein Salmon Roe?

    Thanks,

    Mary

    • Heather says:

      Great question, Mary! Just a few years ago I would have told you to go down to your local fish market to find some, but the problem is many fish markets are now passing off farmed salmon as wild caught, and you really don’t want farmed salmon roe (they’re higher in PCB’s, antibiotic and other contaminants and lower in all the supernutrients I wrote about).

      Are you part of any local co-ops that buy wild caught salmon? My milk co-op orders once a year, and I have thought about trying to contact the (trusted) fisherman they buy directly from and asking him to ship some roe with our order. Fortunately for me, though, I happened across a source thanks to a comment left on Facebook. Fish Hugger just offered an incredible deal in which they gave roe away for FREE, just pay the shipping! The catch is you had to have at least 30 pounds shipped because otherwise the roe would defrost too quickly in route. Some friends and I got together and ordered 47 pounds collectively and just split it up when it arrived. Caviar goes for something like $20 an ounce at Whole Foods, but my cost thanks to Fishhugger was about $4.50 for 8 ounces. It is an acquired taste, but I’m a happy camper right now!

  3. How long does it keep in the refrigerator?

  4. @Julie – About three weeks, but we never let it last that long because the nutrient value decreases over time. :)

  5. I’ve never tried caviar but I think it would be sweet to make it myself… I just might eat it then! :) Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Made the caviar tonight and my kids loved it! Thanks! I had a bit of a tough time getting all the membrane out. Perhaps it gets easier each time?

  7. Yay! Yes it gets easier when you get a “feel” for it :)

  8. Emily Brown says:

    This is awesome, Heather! Thank you! I love seeing how confident you are becoming in front of the video too…..it is such a blessing to have this stuff recorded to help others along the way! :)

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Emily! I didn’t feel confident at all while shooting this one (no pretty assistant to distract everyone from my mom hair!), but promised a mom I would so here it is. The upside is that it inspired me to get a haircut!

  9. PattyLA says:

    I’ve got 20 lbs of salmon roe from that same source. My younger dd adores roe so I know it will disappear. I am wondering if there is another way to remove the membrane. I don’t like to use my tap water on any food and my filtered water is only cold. Is it helpful that the water is running or does it just have to be warm?

    • Emily W. says:

      Do you know if your source for fish roe is still good? I tried clicking on the Fish Hugger link above and nothing came of it. I’d greatly appreciate your help in tracking some down! :-)

  10. Heather says:

    LOL Patty, I feel the same way! That’s why I heat some water in a large pot and then pour it over the skein using a measuring cup. I used this method in the video if you want to see it done. :)

  11. PattyLA says:

    Ok Thanks. I’ll go watch the video now *blush*

  12. My husband has been catching lots of grey mullet recently and today we noticed lots sacs of roe in a few of the fish. They are different to salmon roe in that the eggs are much smaller and finer, but based on my research they are definitely edible. Do you think I could use them in place of the salmon roe in this recipe? Thanks!

  13. [...] I favor lots of vegetables, wild-caught Alaskan salmon and a healthy serving of salmon roe (usually home-cured, and sometimes [...]

  14. [...] post here. This clay bath gave me enough energy to stay awake with my mom and help her prepare her salmon roe, but then I went to sleep for 13 hours. [...]

  15. Bebe says:

    Heather, I recently put up about 1/2 gallon of roe using two similar but different techniques. The second one, utilizing hot water was SO much easier to deal with because the outer membrane stays in large pieces rather than disintegrating. I had no idea you had a tutorial! This is the directions I used and it turned out luscious! Just slightly different than yours but is seems a tad simpler:
    http://honest-food.net/2009/12/02/how-to-make-caviar/

  16. Leah says:

    What do you do with the elixir that drains from the caviar? It looks too good to throw away. Have you used it as a broth or in brotH? I have drizzled it over salmon filets sometimes

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