Can You Eat Northern Pike Eggs? Is It Even A Good Idea?

Caviar is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about fish eggs. It’s harvested exclusively from sturgeon fish and it’s considered a luxury food across the globe.

However, caviar is not the only option when it comes to fish eggs as they can be harvested from different kinds of fish including northern pike.

So, can you eat northern pike eggs? You can eat northern pike eggs. These eggs are golden colored and they’re very similar in taste and size to actual caviar that’s harvested from sturgeons while being a lot more affordable. They also have a lot of health benefits like being low in calories and rich in nutrients.

Keep reading to learn more about different types of fish eggs as well as how to obtain and eat northern pike eggs.

What Are the Different Types of Fish Eggs?

pike eggs to answer can you eat northern pike eggs

Fish eggs are often known as caviar or roe, and they’re basically the unfertilized eggs of fish. These eggs are usually served as a luxury food in high-end restaurants in many countries.

They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and they can be harvested from different kinds of fish.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of fish eggs that people usually eat.

True Caviar

True caviar is a kind of roe that is harvested exclusively from sturgeon fish species.

Since many of the wild sturgeon species are categorized as critically endangered, this type of caviar can be the hardest to obtain and the most expensive.

Imitation Caviar

Imitation caviar is a type of roe that’s not harvested from sturgeons.

 Instead, it’s manufactured from plants or algae which makes it more affordable than true caviar.

Fish Eggs from Other Fish Species

There are other fish species we can eat roe from such as Trout, Lumpfish, Paddlefish, Salmon, Tuna, Bowfin, Whitefish, and Northern Pike.

Are Northern Pike Eggs Good to Eat?

Northern Pike Eggs are good to eat. They have a distinctive salty flavor and they’re often considered the closest to true caviar that’s harvested from sturgeons.

There are also many health benefits to eating northern pike eggs as they are low in calories and a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, phosphorus, iodine, and iron.

How to Obtain Northern Pike Eggs?

There are two main ways to extract fish eggs from northern pike which are the classic harvesting method and the humane harvesting method. The classic method is more likely to kill the pike fish, while the humane method extracts the eggs through vivace or C-section which keeps the fish alive.

Since northern pike eggs are not very popular, it can be difficult to find a good brand in most grocery stores so you may have to purchase them from gourmet stores or online.

However, the best way to ensure you get good quality fresh eggs is to harvest the eggs directly from the fish at an actual fish market.

If you are going the first way, and are going to fish the Pike yourself, make sure to check out this guide to catching pike in the winter. Or you can use tip-up ice fishing to catch pike more easily, and you can learn about Tip-Up Ice Fishing here.

How to Eat Northern Pike Eggs?

Even though they taste delicious, northern Pike eggs aren’t usually a standard part of many people’s diets.

There are many ways you can eat northern pike eggs. They can be consumed as a main dish or an appetizer and sometimes even as snacks.

You can make some dishes using the entire egg sag or you can remove the eggs from the sac to make fried fish eggs or sautéed fish eggs.

It’s agreed that the best way to eat fish eggs is raw as it can maximize their nutritional benefits. However, make sure the raw eggs you consume are fresh and harvested from sustainable sources.

How to Make Pike Caviar at Home?

If you’re able to obtain fresh northern pike eggs straight from the fish, you can easily cure them yourself and make some caviar without spending too much money or effort.

Here are the steps you can follow to cure pike eggs and make caviar:

  • Dissolve about half a cup of pickling salt in two cups of cold water.
  • Rinse the northern pike egg sacs in the mixture and make sure to wash away any blood.
  • Gently remove eggs from the membrane holding the eggs together. 
  • Depending on the maturity of the eggs, it can be difficult to remove them from the membrane, so the best way is to pour some hot water on it then scrape the inside with a dull knife
  • Put the eggs in brine then refrigerate them for 20-30 minutes for me so they can firm up.
  • Pour the brine through a fine sieve or a cloth-lined colander to drain the eggs.
  • Spoon the eggs into a sealed glass jar then put them back in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  • After taking the eggs out of the refrigerator, you can prepare your caviar however you like.

Related Questions

Can You Use Fish Eggs as Bait?

You can use fish eggs as bait because they have a distinctive texture and scent that can effectively grab the attention of many fish species and get them to bite. However, keep in mind that fish eggs prepared to be used as bait are not suitable for human consumption as they contain scents and curing materials that can be harmful

How Many Eggs Do Northern Pike Lay?

Northern Pike fish can lay between 25,000 to 225,000 eggs. During their spawning season, the northern pike eggs attach to areas with vegetation and can take between two to four weeks to hatch depending on the water temperature. Pike spawning season usually starts around mid-April.

Are Pike Eggs Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Pike eggs are safe to eat during pregnancy as long as the eggs are pasteurized and kept under refrigeration. Keep in mind that pregnant women should avoid eating any raw or unpasteurized fish eggs due to the risk of listeria and other bacterial contamination.

Helpful Resources

How to Cook Fish Roe

Pike VS Muskies

These Are The Fishing Lines I Absolutely Love

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