There are plenty of decisions to make in the tuna aisle of the grocery store: What brand should I buy? Do I choose light or white? Is packed in oil or water better? With so many types of canned tuna on the shelf, here’s how to select the best, premium tuna that will make all the difference in the quality of your meals.
Tuna Type and Taste
Tuna labeled “white” is mild flavored albacore tuna, likely what you’re most accustomed to. ”Light” tuna can be bluefin, skipjack or yellowfin, which some consider to have a richer, meatier flavor. Premium tuna should have no additives or preservatives. Truly excellent quality tuna should be so flavorful you can eat it right from the can.
Tuna comes in ”solid,” ”chunk” and ”flaked” varieties. For fish that is the main attraction of your meal, we recommend ”solid” or ”solid pack”, which contain one whole piece of tuna loin.
Packed in Oil or Water
Choosing between oil or water is entirely up to the chef’s preference. Some feel that oil better preserves the flavor of the fish. In certain dishes, like a Niçoise salad or Mediterranean meal, tuna packed in olive oil seems most appropriate. For a classic tuna sandwich, where mayo or avocado is added, you may want to forgo oil.
For us, quality goes beyond taste. Tuna should be responsibly and sustainably sourced. We always recommend looking for fish that is pole or longline caught, meaning fish are caught on individual hooks rather than swept up en masse with other sea life.
Another great indicator of quality is assuring your tuna is MSC Certified — generally considered to be the most reputable certifying body. MSC certified products must meet rigorous standards for sustainable fishing practices, like limiting bycatch (unwanted fish), avoiding overfishing and protecting marine environments.
Cooking with Premium Tuna
Premium tuna is not a can to be forgotten in the back of the pantry or as a filler in meals. It can stand on its own as the focal point of a meal, just like you would use any cut of fish. It’s delicious on salads or in sandwiches but premium tuna can also support more interesting dishes like stir-frys, skillets, and even pizza.
Explore our recipe collections to discover new ways to utilize tuna fish in your dishes.