You must first capture the fish. Then it’s most likely a pregnant female. Then you must know your state’s game rules in order to determine whether you must release or harvest her.
Sturgeon from the United States, whose Eurasian relatives live in the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the rivers that drain into them, including the Danube. The salted roe preparation caviar originates from the Dneiper, Dneister, Don, and Volga, which are critically endangered or threatened species due to overharvesting during the late nineteenth-century boom. As a result, there will be no caviar from American Sturgeon. Unless they’re farm-raised and part of a pre-determined product chain. Many options to harvest your own caviar exist in the wide meaning of the word caviar, where the species of fish name precedes the word caviar. The most readily accessible and sustainable options are salmon, trout, and paddlefish, although regional fish can also be harvested. The fish known as grinnel in Texas and Arkansas, choupique (shoe pick) in Louisiana, and bowfin everywhere else makes superb caviar. Eggs the proper size, pop pleasantly in the mouth, a controlled fishiness so they don’t taste like nothing, nearly worth the effort of washing in a sieve, removing the membranes, and slowly swirling in the kosher salt so the eggs don’t explode.
If not consumed right away, you’ll need a safe source and a preservative like salt. If you can find a female fish during spawning season, several non-endangered fish species produce good caviar.
If you enjoy the flavor of fish eggs but not the texture or the prestige appeal of beluga, ossetra, or sevruga caviar, you may buy bottarga. None of them are sustainable. (Bottarga, on the other hand, isn’t inexpensive.) Bottarga is made from mullet or tuna, and it’s offered whole or shredded and bottled. For the greatest results, look for recipes that call for it.