Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jan 8, 2010 01:18 PM

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,

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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 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.

                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).


                        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:

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