Caviar does not keep its quality for as long as other specialty products, and requires specialized treatment to increase its relatively short shelf-life. The amount of time before spoilage depends on how the caviar was processed, whether it was pasteurized or not, how it has been stored, and how much it has been exposed to air.
A container of non-pasteurized, when unopened and properly refrigerated, will usually maintain quality for around a month. If that same container of caviar is pasteurized or frozen, it can last as long as a year if it remains sealed. Once the container is opened it will begin to dry from air contamination, losing its flavor and texture in as little three to seven days.
The other types of processed caviar keep for significantly longer due to their higher salt content. Pressed caviar is usually kept refrigerated similarly to malossol roe, but will last a little longer. Highly salted, shelf-stable roe can have a very long shelf life, going many months even years without refrigeration.
Other commonly asked questions relating to caviar shelf life:
How long does caviar last when left unopened in the refrigerator?
The shelf life of a vacuum sealed container of caviar is commonly between 4 and 6 weeks at a temperature of 26° to 36° F. Some types may keep much longer than others, but in most instances the the quality of any roe will suffer after a month.
How long does pasteurized caviar last?
When done properly, a sealed jar of pasteurized caviar can be kept for 1 year. Pasteurizing roe does decrease the quality of its texture and flavor, but using high heat to kill bacteria and other contaminates is the safest means of protecting fresh product.
How long can I freeze my caviar for?
Whether pasteurized or not, freezing caviar can extend its shelf life for more than a year. Roe from certain species keep better in a frozen environment than others, but the flavor and texture can be negatively affected each time you freeze and thaw your caviar.
How long does caviar stay good after opening?
For the best possible quality, caviar should be consumed within 3 days of opening. Usually, once the container has lost its vacuum the product should be eaten definitely within a week to ensure the upmost quality and safety.