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Tuna Fish in a Can

I have used the usual all white tuna for years but it is getting not to look so white any more so any suggestions on Tuna in a Can other than the usual big Name Tuna? How much, I don't love oil but if it is cleaner and tastier I would try it, don't want to spend that much. Thanks and Happy 2010,

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  1. I'm probably not the guy you need to be hearing from, as for me the darker and oilier canned tuna gets, the better, and I cannot abide the water-packed stuff at all. However, what might please both of us is Italian canned tuna in olive oil. As I have no idea where you live, I can't recommend an outlet, but it's most reliably found in good Italian delis if you're anywhere that has those. You can spend an awful lot of money on some that I've seen, but I just buy the least expensive of the single-piece cuts and have always been pleased. Side note: in spite of what some trendy food writers might say, THE correct tuna for making Vitello Tonnato is never, ever fresh tuna, but always canned.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Thank you very much I see it at think at Trader Joe's but you it hard to change once in awhile but I have too because I am not liking the product I have had for years anymore. Have a great weekend!

      1. re: nbermas

        Definitely give the olive-oil packed stuff a try. TJs has a couple of versions, one with an Italian label (although it's not Italian tuna) and the other with a store-brand label. They're both fairly good, and not hideously expensive. I prefer yellowfin to albacore.

      2. re: Will Owen

        I bought a couple of small can of the Italian tuna that you mention and it was so good. I got it at Molinari's Deli in SF and the guy suggested that I mix in some cilantro, red onion and lemon juice. It was delicious spread on crostini. I don't remember the price but know it wasn't cheap. I think Alan Barnes says he gets some at TJs that he likes.

        1. re: Will Owen

          I'm with you on the Italian canned or jarred tuna in olive oil. A bit pricy but oh so good.
          I'm a water pack (it's a calorie thing with me) light tuna, not white, so I can't recommend any good canned white albacore. The olive oil packed tuna is usually yellowfin or white tuna. Some of the brands you might find in your local market are Pastene and Cento. TJ's probably has good tuna at a decent price.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Pastene is my standby - amazingly good and only about $3 a can. Do not confuse this with the Pastene "flavored" tunas (ginger and hot chili) which are Thai products distributed under the Pastene label. They do not contain the same quality fish as their plain canned tuna.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              +1 on the Cento. Haven't tried the Pastene brand, but if I can find it, I certainly will try it now!! And yep, anything a. oil-packed and b. jarred is going to be so far superior to the mooshy canned product..(which I use all the time anyway. :)

            2. re: Will Owen

              Cento canned tuna is good and TJ's canned tuna in olive oil is also reasonable for most kitchen use (including tuna salad or some sort of casserole). TJ's carries both albacore (white) and yellowfin in olive oil.

              1. re: Alice Letseat

                I'm hooked on Cento Light Tuna in Olive Oil for a couple of recipes I've been making regularly the past few months. Does TJ's have a similar product? I know they sell several varieties of tuna but I'm wondering which one would be the closest to the Cento tuna I like.



            3. I am also the worse to ask, husband is a fisherman and I get fresh fish all the time...so I do make a lot using fresh tuna.

              However, I do have a weakness for Italian cannned tuna and John West tuna, if I can not make with the fish my hubby brings home I will buy one of those 2

              2 Replies
              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                bermuda goddess, next time you're in s. florida, go over to felda and get some swamp mustard for your smoked fish. good stuff. nephew-fisherman loves the "sprinkles" and their hot sauce, too. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/659069

                1. re: alkapal

                  Thanks...I'll be there next week, will check it out!!

              2. Forgive me if it's already been mentioned, but Costco (Kirkland) brand is the way tuna used to be made.
                The Costco Connection had an interesting article about the history of why they started "canning it" themselves about a year ago. It may still be in their archives.

                7 Replies
                1. re: kellithina

                  I second the Costco tuna. I haven't bought anything else in years.

                  1. re: baseballfan

                    I add my voice to the Kirkland tuna fan club.

                    1. re: coney with everything

                      Kirkland brand solid core in a can is good. Right up there with BiMart Pacific Crest for $99 cents a can.

                    1. re: Rmis32

                      Where I live we have Albacore troll fishermen who produce their own private lines of (ambrosial) product.

                      1. re: Sam Salmon

                        I **am** an albacore troll fisherman (recreational, not professional). Canning is an ideal way to preserve the fish when we catch a lot of them. A solid piece of loin, a sprinkle of salt, top up with olive oil, and into the pressure canner. But I still prefer yellowfin.

                    2. re: kellithina

                      I like the Kirkland solid white in water.

                      I've tried the olive oil packed from the italian deli; reminded me too much of the awful tuna sandwiches my mother used to pack. Don't care for the oil packed at all.

                    3. I second the Pastene recommendation and add Roland, which I think is a great brand.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sophia519

                        Third recco for Pastene. I always put it in a sieve and rinse off the excess oil, then press out the water with a fork - doesn't diminish the taste and gets rid of a few calories.

                      2. nbermas, To answer your question Pacific Crest premium solid white fancy albacore tuna is my favorite cheap store-bought. In water 5 oz can 99 cents at BiMart. Have been eating it for more than a decade. Find it consistently good can after can. Product of Thailand. Seek something good and cheap made in the US and had some Kirkland solid core recently that was tasty while did not save the can so not sure where was made and do not recall how much over a dollar under two dollars paid.

                        Recently was gifted some tuna in glass canned in oil from Italy and darn it was tasty and should have saved the container - was the best store bought tuna have ever had. And usually don't get tuna in oil. My guess is over five times the price of Pacific Crest at BiMart.

                        Agree with it said above canning your own tuna is a good way to go. End up with a bunch and can be very affordable. Have always canned mine in water. Sometimes slow cold smoke some of it ahead of time for variation. Can be very affordable especially if catch yourself. Sometimes can negotiate the right deal from fisherman at the dock without a middle man if in the right place at the right time. Recall getting whole tuna for 59 cents a pound in Astoria, OR and felt a very lucky boy on the way home (was over a decade ago and not sure if such deals are possible now).

                        from: http://www.chow.com/ingredients/596

                        Tuna - canned:

                        In the Mediterranean, which has a 2,000-year-old tuna fishing industry, there is a long tradition of preserving tuna by canning it in olive oil. The best canned tuna can be likened to a confit of tuna, oil-poached tuna that melts in your mouth. Tunisian, Spanish, French, and Italian canned tuna can be superb. Ventresca, or belly, the fattest portion, is considered the best. Water-packed solid white-meat tuna has been the gold standard in America, but it can be mealy and dry. Yellowfin (also called light tuna), packed in olive oil, is the type used in the Mediterranean. Solid-pack tuna consists of large pieces tightly packed together; chunk tuna has small fragments. Use canned tuna in mixed salads, stuffed vegetables, hors d’oeuvres, or sandwiches. (from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com)

                        Another CHOW thread with over 30 replies including further information with old Cook’s Illustrated testings is at:

                        1. One tip: I found salt-free canned tuna the other day, I think the brand was Wild Planet but I'm not sure - it wasn't "gourmet" by any stretch (pretty sure I got it at Target,) After using it in an appropriately seasoned recipe, I found it to be far superior in texture and flavor. It's not always available, but I buy it when I can. (Straight out of the can it tastes like you'd imagine; it does need salt to be added - but my theory is that salt degrades the tissue even further during processing. I'd rather season on my own anyway.)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mhays

                            I only use low sodium tuna in water. The first time I tried it I was amazed at how real it tasted. I could taste the fish, not the salt.

                          2. We don't have Costco around here. Awhile back I switched over to Genova brand; it's Mediterranean yellowfin tuna packed in oil. I find it better than the major American brands in both flavor and texture. Costs a little more but is still selling for under $2 a can.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: eclecticsynergy

                              Genova Tonno is the upscale brand for Chicken of the Sea. It is, as you say, yellowfin instead of skipjack or blue tuna.

                              1. re: mhays

                                Fascinating. I didn't know that.

                                It is 1,000 better than their regular tuna.

                            2. Tonnino Ventresca in oil in a jar. Perfection. Ventresca is the belly of the tuna and IIRC is the most highly valued part of the fish in the mediterranean.

                              1. I can't stand any tuna canned in water, but for the past few years have been enjoying Starkist's "Gourmet Choice Solid Light Tuna Filet in Olive Oil". All of the local supermarkets carry it these days (it's in a gold can alongside the other Starkist tuna products), & while it's a bit more $ than regular oil-packed tuna, not exhorbitantly so. And of course I always enjoy the imported olive-oil-packed canned & jarred tunas, but save them for once-in-awhile treats.

                                1. I only eat the Cento, I gave up starkiss and bumblebee years ago. I don't eat a lot of canned tuna, but this can tuna I put on top of salads as is.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Crockett67

                                    Well, if you gave up "Starkist" "years ago", than you certainly haven't tried their new canned tuna in olive oil, because it hasn't been out until fairly recently. Might want to give it a try - it's actually pretty good.

                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                      They have it in olive oil? had no idea.

                                      1. re: Crockett67

                                        Yup - & definitely worth a try. It's all I buy now (except for the occasional imported tuna treat). It can sometimes be difficult to find it on the shelf amongst all the other tuna, but the can is mostly gold with some blue markings. Worth looking for, & like I said before, most supermarkets are carrying it these days - it's become quite popular.

                                  2. Wild Planet sustainably caught tuna is the brand I buy. Not inexpensive, but you are paying for a superior product. Packed with or without salt but not with water or oil. Tastes great and doesn't smell like cat food.

                                    1. Wild Planet and Rain Forest are both good and sustainably caught. Genova Tonno is also good and packed in olive oil.

                                      1. If you have access to fresh or frozen tuna that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, consider making tuna conserve. I've been using this recipe for years, both with fresh and frozen tuna ...


                                        It keeps for a week or so in the fridge (except that it always gets consumed faster than that) and it's utterly delicious. Not quite like canned tuna, not quite like fresh tuna, but something else entirely. And ridiculously easy to make.

                                        More information about this delicious homemade product is at