can you eat catfish eggs

Can You Eat Catfish Eggs (Safely)?

We have all heard of caviar and its high prices at fancy restaurants. Can restaurant-level fish eggs be produced from catfish? Or maybe your catfish just laid eggs in your pond, and you and your friends are curious if you can fry them up (and then catch the catfish and fry them up too 🙂 ). Either way, catfish eggs can be just as loved and expensive as the typical caviar you see at restaurants.

Can you eat catfish eggs? Yes, you can – as long as they are unfertilized. Catfish eggs are an acquired taste. They are known for having an orange color, slimy and lumpy texture, and a strong distinct flavor no matter how prepared.

Read on to learn about what exactly catfish eggs are if they are healthy, and how to prepare them. Learn about other popular fish eggs and the ways they are also prepared. Can raw fish eggs make you sick? Can you have fish eggs while pregnant? As well, learn about the pairing of fish eggs and sushi, caviar prices, and locations.

What are Catfish Eggs?

Catfish eggs are high in protein, fat, and cholesterol. In order for the eggs to be edible, they must be unfertilized. Once fertilized, the egg is no longer edible.

catfish eggs in a spawning den

Catfish can lay eggs up to once a week, but only usually only have a litter of fertilized eggs once a year. Fertilized eggs typically turn a beige color, and will have a dark spot in the middle as they progress toward hatching.

The best way to avoid fertilized eggs is to purchase your catfish eggs from a trusted fish market.

Are Catfish Eggs Healthy?

Catfish and all fish eggs are very healthy if prepared right. Fish eggs are an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamin D and omega-3 fats. Fish eggs can also contain vitamins B12, magnesium, iron, and some calcium. The healthiest eggs to consume for nutrients are salmon eggs. Some types of fish eggs are high in cholesterol and sodium, so be cautious of those levels. The fish oil received from eggs has tons of benefits; including heart health, memory health, and headache relief.

How Do You Prepare Catfish Eggs?

The most popular way to prepare catfish eggs is by frying them with bacon grease or something very salty. They absorb moisture well, and this will help them to be full of flavor. The eggs are usually fried until they are golden brown on all sides, and served with the bacon but drained of the grease. After frying, eggs can be served on their own or on top of an entree. Oftentimes, this is prepared as an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.

Other Edible Fish Eggs

The most popular fish eggs for consumption are salmon eggs, rainbow trout eggs, all types of tobiko caviar, herruga eggs, sturgeon (true caviar), carp, whitefish caviar, and even snail caviar. The types of eggs we often see paired with sushi are salmon eggs and smaller red eggs. The true and original form of caviar is made from sturgeon eggs, but many have adapted into calling other fish eggs caviar too.

How Fish Eggs Are Prepared

Generally, caviar fish eggs are placed in a bowl of warm water first to temper. Then placed into a brine for preferred saltiness and refrigerated before consumption. Make sure to take out of the brine after a couple of minutes before refrigeration, so they aren’t too salty.

After refrigeration, place the caviar on any buttered or dry toast for best flavor results. Many accompany it with flavored sauces or glazes. Fish eggs can also alternatively be baked, fried, or even poached.

Can You Eat Fish Eggs Raw?

You can eat fish eggs raw if properly prepared just like sushi. With that being said, with raw fish, there is always the chance for salmonella. Many people enjoy their caviar just barely tempered in warm water, and then refrigerated. If you’re wanting to be safe though, your best bet is to pan-fry or bake your fish eggs.

Can Fish Eggs Make You Sick?

Anything can make you sick, if you dislike it or if it was prepared poorly. With that being said, it’s rather unlikely for you to get sick from fish eggs or caviar. Unless you eat a fertilized egg, expired or left out. There are rare cases that some people can catch salmonella from fish eggs, especially if eaten raw. So just be cautious of who is preparing your caviar and where you are buying it from. Make sure to prepare your fish eggs or caviar correctly before consumption.

Fish Eggs During Pregnancy

Pregnant women can have fish eggs and caviar as long as they are both pasteurized and refrigerated. Pregnant women should avoid raw and unpasteurized fish eggs or caviar due to the risk of bacterial contamination. This is especially important during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

Fish Eggs In Sushi

Very often will you see fish eggs atop sushi. Types of caviar or fish eggs typically found in sushi are tiny red tobiko caviar, salmon eggs, spicy tarako caviar, and ikura eggs. All of these types are tempered in warm water and served chilled atop the sushi. This is a very popular practice in all sushi restaurants.

Fish Egg Prices and Locations

Fish eggs and caviar are very expensive all over the world. In many countries, they are treated as an occasional delicacy. In the U.S., caviar can sell for $55 to $175 per ounce depending on the grade. 80% of the fish eggs and caviar sold in the U.S. are produced in California. Fish eggs are often expensive for having to be harvested by hand. Caviar is also expensive because it simply has a reputation for being expensive, so the price tag is a part of the experience.

Fish Eggs in Restaurants

Caviar and fish eggs are known for having a high-end price tag. With that being said, only really formal and gourmet restaurants offer caviar and fish eggs on their menus. This dish is generally more common in bigger cities, but you still won’t find this dish at your typically middle-class Chilis or Applebees.

Conclusion – Can You Eat Catfish Eggs Safely (or Will You Get Sick?)

So yes, you can eat unfertilized catfish eggs. You can also eat plenty of other species of fishes eggs, as well. Catfish eggs are relatively healthy and packed full of essential vitamins, but remember to be cautious of their sodium and cholesterol levels. The most popular way to prepare catfish eggs is pan-fried in bacon grease.

Generally, caviar is prepared by tempering your fish eggs in a bowl of warm water, then soaking them in a brine, and refrigerating them before consumption. You should always be cautious of salmonella when consuming raw fish eggs or caviar. Always remember to buy your fish eggs from a trusted source, fresh and iced immediately, if possible. You are able to have fish eggs while pregnant, as long as they are pasteurized and refrigerated.

Fish eggs and or caviar are often served atop sushi. Caviar and fish eggs have become a wealthy person’s delicacy. With prices being higher than ever, the popularity of the name and reputation often outshines the actual flavors of the dish. When paying for caviar in restaurants, you’re paying for the experience of caviar really, rather than the taste of the dish.