Ikura is a Russian word (Nkpa) which means ‘fish roe’ in general, and is widely used in international commerce, especially referring to salmon caviar. Soy sauce marinated ikuras are also available and growing in popularity. Salted salmon eggs have a long history in Japan. The book ‘Enkishiki’ printed in 927 describes how ikura and sujiko were appreciated and regarded as valuable products.
Grading
As the salmon prepares to spawn, the female’s eggs mature in the ovary, becoming larger and stronger as the salmon migrates from the ocean to the estuary and finally up river to the spawning grounds. For Ikura production, the eggs are carefully selected from salmon captured just before entering the river system, when the eggs are fully formed, but are neither too soft nor too hard. High grade salted ikura has a bright, red-orange color. All eggs should be whole, not broken or squashed, and easily separated from one another.
Definition
Salmon caviar is the salt cured individual eggs of salmon. Most wild Alaska salmon caviar comes from Pink and Chum salmon.
The basic manufacturing method for salmon caviar is:
Parent salmon are captured
Eggs are removed from females
Eggs are washed in 3% salt solution
Eggs are separated from ovary sac, and cleaned of all skins and veins
Soy Ikura
Marinate in soy sauce for one half to one day
Draining
Curing and draining at the same time
Grading (by freshness and color)
Packing and weighing
Inspection
Shipping out
Salted Ikura
Eggs are agitated and cured in a salt brine solution
Draining
Grading
Inspection
Shipping out
The high grade finished product has a bright orange red color, and the eggs are clearly arranged in lines. The surface should be strong yet soft. Product name: Sujiko Common local name: Akiko Product Variety: In Japanese, there are different names for sujiko according to parent species:
Chum Sakeko the largest sized eggs Sockeye Beniko known for its bright red color Coho Ginko Chinook Sukeko Pink Masuko generally smaller and softer eggs than chum.
Sujiko are the salted and cured whole salmon ovary. Sujiko is a Japanese word composed of ‘suji’, which means “line” and refers to how the eggs are lined up in the ovary, and ‘-ko’ which means ‘child’. The raw egg sacks are washed in a saturated salt solution.
The basic manufacturing method for sujiko is:
Parent salmon are captured
Egg sacs are removed from females
Eggs are washed in 3% salt solution
Draining in a large meshed basket
Egg sacs are agitated and cured in a salt brine solution
Draining in a large meshed basket
Grading
Packing in box (Salt sprinkling on top surface)
Curing
Inspection
Shipping out