The cold, clean waters of Alaska provide a healthy, natural habitat for the ﬁve species of wild Alaska salmon: keta, pink salmon, sockeye, coho and king salmon. The salmon roe of each species has its own characteristics.
KETA SALMON, Oncorhynchus keta
Alaska keta salmon are harvested in late summer. Keta salmon roe is pale red with strong orange overtones. Keta caviar is the most popular type of salmon caviar, prized for its large size. The highest-grade keta caviar is 5 mm or larger with a salt content of 2.5 to 3.5 percent and zero drip.* Keta caviar is also regarded for its flavor, long shelf life and signature “pop” in the mouth.
PINK SALMON, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
Alaska pink salmon, the smallest and most abundant of the Alaska salmon species, are harvested in late summer. Pink salmon roe is orange with a subtle rose hue. The highest-grade pink caviar is 3.5 mm or larger in size, with a salt content of 2.5 to 3.5 percent and zero drip.* Pink caviar is valued for its sweet, mild taste and long shelf life.
SOCKEYE SALMON, Oncorhynchus nerka
Most Alaska sockeye salmon are caught in mid-summer. Sockeye salmon roe is bright red and significantly smaller than that of the other salmon species. Much of the sockeye roe harvest is sold in-sac (as sujiko), though some is used for caviar. The highest-grade sockeye caviar is 2.5 mm and up and has a salt content of 2.5 to 3.5 percent and no drip.* Sockeye caviar can have a slightly bitter natural finish and has a shorter shelf life than other species due to the natural fats found in the yolk of the eggs.
COHO SALMON, Oncorhynchus kisutch
Alaska coho salmon run later than the other species and are generally the last to spawn. Coho salmon roe is mid-sized and closer to red than orange in color. The highest-grade coho caviar is 4.5 mm and up, with a salt content of 2.5 to 3.5 percent and no drip.* Like sockeye, coho caviar has a slightly bitter natural finish and shorter shelf life caused by unstable fatty acids.
KING SALMON, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Alaska king salmon arrive earliest in the summer salmon season and are harvested year-round inAlaska. It is important to note, however, that king salmon roe is only taken in the summer months. Like keta, king salmon produce large eggs. The highest-grade king caviar measures 5mm and up, has a salt content of 2.5 to 3.5 percent and no drip.* King caviar is rich in flavor and produces a pleasant “pop” in the mouth.
Wild Alaska salmon roe is a resource strictly managed for sustainability. Constitutionally mandated regulations and close monitoring of Alaska’s salmon fisheries help to preserve and protect Alaska salmon roe for generations to come.
*Salmon roe of smaller size or higher salt content is graded according to individual company specifications. Producers have their own specifications, so it is important for buyers to work closely with their suppliers. Note: Caviar salt content is market determined and is not subject to food safety regulations.