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How to Store Tuna

Wondering how to properly store fresh or canned tuna fish? We'll cover the best practices for storing tuna fish. When it comes to food safety, proper storage is vital for both protecting your health and preserving taste. So let’s check out how you should store your fish!

This is a frozen tuna steak on ice with an herb.

Many people love tuna, including both fresh tuna fish and tinned tuna. You can use tuna to make sashimi, sushi, tuna salad, tuna sandwiches, tuna casserole, and more. That said, if you enjoy tuna, you should learn how to properly store it. Doing so will ensure that your tuna is fresh, which could improve taste and may reduce the risk of you getting sick.

First thing’s first, you need to consider the specific type of tuna you have. Tinned tuna and canned tuna have different storage requirements than fresh tuna. Likewise, cooked tuna loin will have different storage requirements than the raw tuna found on sashimi.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tried and true practices for safely storing tuna. We’re going to cover how you can store different types of tuna, including Tupperware, vacuum sealers, can lids, and more.

Let’s take a look at the different types of tuna.

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Related: Albacore vs. Tuna | What Goes With Tuna | Types of Tuna | What Goes With Sushi | Sushi vs. Sashimi | Types of Food | Alternatives to Salmon | How to Clean Tuna

The Most Common Types of Tuna You’ll Find In Your Home

This is a close look at multiple pieces of frozen tuna in storage.

When you heard the word tuna, your mind might first be drawn to tinned tuna or canned tuna. This tuna comes off the shelf properly stored and can last for months or even years so long as it’s not opened. Once you open a can of tuna, however, you need to take steps to preserve it. And even still-canned tuna can benefit from proper storage techniques.

Besides canned tuna, many people buy fresh tuna. You might buy a tuna filet fresh from your grocery store. You could grill or bake this tuna, or you might cut it up to make a fresh tuna sandwich. Fresh tuna typically won’t last as long as canned tuna. Fresh tuna should be stored in your fridge, but even properly wrapped, it’ll only last for a few days. Once the tuna is cooked, it may last for up to five days in the fridge.

Fortunately, you can freeze tuna to make it last longer. This may affect the taste but will allow you to store tuna. Still, frozen tuna should be consumed within 2 to 3 months. Vacuum sealing the tuna could extend its lifespan.

Properly Storing Unopened Canned Tuna and Vacuum Sealed Tuna

These are preserved tuna fillets in jars of olive oil.

When you’re buying canned or tinned tuna, you should check to make sure that the can has not been compromised. Canning companies are quite good at canning food these days, so problems are rare. If the canned fish is bulging out, leaking, or is severely dented, it may have been compromised. If so, you should discard the can.

Canned tuna (and other canned foods, for that matter) should be stored in a cool, dry place. Canned fish should not be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time. A pantry or kitchen cabinet typically provides enough protection for storing the cans. You should keep tinned tuna away from your oven or other appliances that might produce heat.

You usually don’t need to store unopened canned tuna in your fridge. If you’re short on space in the kitchen, you might store tuna in your basement or a closet. It’s best to control moisture, so a dehumidifier can go a long way.

The same guidelines apply to tuna that you bought in vacuum-sealed packaging. Make sure the package hasn’t been compromised, and keep it stored in a dark, cool place.

Properly packaged and canned tuna may last for between 3 to 5 years. It may still be safe to eat after 5 years but may not taste very good. Also, make sure you check for use-by and sell-by dates. It’s best not to eat tuna that’s past the expiration date.

Properly and Safely Storing Opened Canned Tuna and Opened Vacuum Sealed Tuna

This is a close look at an opened tin can of a flaky tuna.

If you’ve opened your packaged, canned, or tinned tuna, you need to store it in the refrigerator or freezer. An opened can or package of tuna stored in the fridge should be eaten within 3 to 4 days.

By the way, the fridge you store your tuna should be regularly cleaned. If mold or other microbes are growing inside your fridge, it could spoil your food more quickly.

If you’re only storing your tuna for a short time, say while you’re cooking, and your fridge is clean, it may be okay to use the original lid.

Beyond that, it’s safer to reseal the tuna. You can use a small plastic container to store the can in for a few days. It’s better, however, to get a tighter seal and to keep air out. One option is to use plastic wrap and to tightly wrap the can. A tightly wrapped can may last for up to four days.

You can also use aluminum foil to seal the can. However, aluminum foil typically won’t create as airproof a seal. If you do wrap the tuna can in aluminum foil, you should eat it quickly.

You can also buy can cover to place on top of the can. So long as the lids fit the specific size cans you use, they typically create a tight seal. These can cover are easy to use and often quite cheap. However, you need to thoroughly clean them after each use. They may also wear out, with the seal loosening over time. Make sure you regularly replace these can lids.

No matter the method you use to seal tuna, it should be eaten within three to four days. When you take the tuna out of the fridge, smell it closely. If something smells off, you’re better off tossing the tuna and opening a new tin of fish.

Storing Fresh Tuna and Other Fresh Fish

This is a close look at pieces of frozen tuna steaks in a vacuum seal with ice.

When it comes to fresh fish, including fresh tuna, you’re going to have to use entirely different storage methods. If you have a fresh, raw tuna loin or filet, you’ll want to eat it quickly, normally within just 1 to 2 days if stored in the fridge. This includes sashimi that uses raw fish.

First, before storing or packaging the tuna, it’s wise to use paper towels to remove excess moisture. This will help your fresh tuna and fresh fish last longer. Next, if you’re using a plastic food container, put some paper towels at the bottom of the container. Then, wrap each piece of tuna meat in a paper towel to reduce moisture.

If you have a larger container or bowel that you can place your smaller plastic container in, fill the larger container with ice. Then, set the smaller container in the larger one.

Generally speaking, with fresh tuna meat and other types of fresh fish, you’ll want to store it in the freezer where it’ll keep for about 2 to 3 months. The tuna loin should be placed in small Ziploc or plastic bags, and you should remove as much air as possible. You should only thaw the fish shortly before you use it.

If you properly vacuum seal the tuna before freezing it, it may last for up to two years. You must make sure, however, that the package has not been compromised.

Cooked tuna may last for up to four days in the fridge. It should be placed in an airtight container. It may last for up to 3 months in the freezer. You can also use plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

No matter the type of tuna and storage methods, if you have any concerns or something smells funny, it’s best to be safe and toss the tuna.

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