Fresh Tuna Storage Ultimate Guide. Refrigerating and Freezing

Tuna is highly prized not only for its creamy, delicate taste and soft texture but also for its macro and microelements, vitamins and minerals that have a positive effect on our health. Fresh tuna is an expensive delicacy, and it is important to know how to store it properly and what to do to keep it fresh longer.

Find out how to store fresh tuna in the fridge and how to freeze it properly in our ultimate guide.

How do you store fresh tuna? Fresh tuna must be stored in the fridge (0—+5°C) in foil, plastic wrap or plastic container with a tight lid. Put the container in the coldest part of the fridge (next to a wall on the upper shelf). To keep tuna fresh longer, add ice in the plastic container and change it when it melts. 

Refrigerating Tuna

Tuna needs to be refrigerated to slow down the spread of microorganisms and to prolong its shelf life. The best fridge temperature for tuna is 0—+2°C, but it can be stored at a temperature of up to +5°C.

The refrigerator slows down the activity of microorganisms and lengthens the shelf life of tuna. However, the +5°C temperature in conventional refrigerators is not suitable for long tuna storage, as the optimal temperature range is -2°C to 0° C to keep tuna fresh. For this reason, in conventional refrigerators, tuna will stay fresh for a day, so it can only be stored for one day. Do not store tuna in plastic bags as it will go bad due to the lack of air; instead, use foil.

How to store fresh tuna in the fridge? Store fresh tuna in foil, plastic wrap, or plastic container on the upper shelf next to a wall at a temperature of 0—+5°C. To make tuna stay fresh longer, place it on a bowl of ice. Before putting tuna in the fridge, wipe it with paper towels and cover it with a lid to avoid the smell. 

How Long Does Tuna Last in the Fridge?

Raw tuna can be kept in the fridge for 2 days maximum at a temperature of 0—+5°C as the optimal tuna storage temperature range is —2°C to 0°C. Do not eat raw tuna if it has been stored in the fridge for more than 3 days. 

Of course, you can set the temperature in the refrigerator lower, but then it will be too low for other foods. The best way to keep tuna fresh longer is to take a separate container filled with ice cubes and place the fish in it. This will allow you to store it in a regular refrigerator for one or two days longer.

See also: How to Defrost Tuna Quickly. Learn These Easy Tricks

How long does vacuum-sealed tuna last in the fridge? Generally, unopened vacuum-sealed tuna lasts for two to three weeks. Store it on the upper shelf of the fridge next to a wall. Opened vacuum-sealed tuna lasts up to three days and should be eaten as quickly as possible.

Useful Tips to Keep Tuna Fresh in the Fridge

How do you keep tuna fresh in the fridge? To keep tuna fresh in the fridge, rinse it under cold water, remove guts and gills and wipe it dry with paper towels, as excessive moisture will make tuna go bad faster. Wrap tuna in foil or a plastic container with a tight lid and place it on ice. The best temperature for keeping tuna fresh is 0—+2°C.

Keep in mind that the insides of the fish, first of all, begin to deteriorate faster. Therefore, if you bought not a fillet but a whole fish, it should be gutted and the gills removed. If you know in advance that you do not plan to cook the fish on the day of purchase, then ask the seller to clean the fish at the store. It will save you time and effort.

Opinions generally differ as to whether tuna needs to be rinsed before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer. If you bought not a fillet but a freshly gutted fish, it is better to rinse it under running water to remove dirt. Next, tuna must be thoroughly wiped with paper towels on all sides to remove all excess moisture. The less moisture remains, the longer tuna will last.

Does tuna go bad in the fridge? Fresh-caught tuna will go bad in the fridge after 48 hours. Do not refrigerate tuna for more than 2 days as it will lead to microbes spreading and poisoning the fish. Tuna will stay fresh in the fridge for 2 days if it is thoroughly rinsed and wiped, and wrapped in foil.

Store tuna in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Usually, it is the top shelf closer to the wall, but modern refrigerators may differ, so check out the manual for your fridge model, which part is more suitable for storing raw fish.

Freezing Fresh Tuna

Can I freeze fresh tuna? Fresh tuna can be frozen after being gutted, rinsed under cold water, and wiped with paper towels. Before freezing tuna, cool it down in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Do not freeze whole big fresh tuna. Instead, cut it and freeze it separately, covering it in foil or put in a plastic container. 

When should you freeze tuna? Freeze tuna in a plastic container or a sealed zip-top bag if you cannot eat fresh tuna within 2 days.

See also: Awesome Tips to Make Tuna Taste Better. What Does Tuna Go With?

If you bought fresh tuna, it is best to eat it within two days and avoid freezing. Even though modern freezers are powerful enough and keep the cold well, they cannot be compared to commercial freezers. By freezing fresh tuna, you risk disrupting its cellular structure and getting too dry when defrosting.

If you bought an expensive bluefin tuna and wondering whether you can freeze fresh bluefin tuna, the answer is yes. Bluefin, yellowfin, and all other kinds of tuna can be safely frozen for up to 6 months at a temperature of 0-—25°C.

How long can you keep raw tuna in the freezer? Raw tuna is best kept fresh in the freezer for 3 months. Tuna can be frozen for up to 6-8 months, but it might acquire a fishy taste and lose some vitamins and nutrients. Do not refreeze tuna after defrosting. Tuna is best frozen at a temperature of 0°C to -25°C.

How long will vacuum-sealed tuna last in the freezer? Frozen, unopened vacuum-sealed tuna can last up to a year, but it is better not to wait this long. The fresher the tuna, the better its taste and smell.  

There are some tips that will help you keep tuna fresh in the freezer longer.

  1. Vegetable oil. After rinsing and wiping tuna, simply grease it generously on all sides with vegetable oil. Choose good quality and odorless oil so that it does not affect the taste of the product. The oil will create a film on the surface of tuna, which will help delay the growth of microorganisms and slightly extend its shelf life.
  2. Marinade. By adding a little salt to tuna and sprinkling it with lemon juice, you will not only stop the development of harmful bacteria in the fish but also make it tastier and juicier.

Freezing Tuna Tips

What’s the best way to freeze tuna? 

  1. Gut tuna and rinse it under cold water.
  2. Wipe dry with paper towels. 
  3. Put in one layer on a tray or baking sheet covered with parchment in the freezer for 3-5 hours.
  4. Take the fish out and put it in the plastic container with a tight lid or a sealed zip-top bag to prevent excess air and moisture. 
  5. Write the date of the freezing on a sticker and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Pre-freezing is necessary so that the fish does not freeze among themselves into an inseparable ice ball.

Is Frozen Tuna Safe?

Frozen tuna is completely safe as low temperatures kill parasites and microbes. Tuna must be gutted, rinsed and wiped before freezing and put in an airtight plastic container to prevent moisture and excess air. Frozen tuna is safe for up to 8 months and does not lose taste properties for up to 3 months. 

Basic Rules for Freezing Tuna:

  • Only fresh tuna is suitable for freezing. It must be cleaned and gutted.
  • Chill the fish before placing fresh fish in the freezer.
  • Do not store whole fish. Cut it into smaller pieces for it to freeze evenly.
  • Before placing in the freezer, tuna should be wrapped in cling film or placed in a bag.
  • Repeated freezing and thawing lead to a change in taste, an unpleasant odor of fat, the loss of useful vitamins and minerals, and a different color.
  • The temperature range for freezing tuna should be from 0 to -25°C. The lower temperature destroys the structure and dries out the fish.
  • If fish has been stored in the freezer for a long time, its quality deteriorates due to fat oxidation and drying out. To prolong the freshness of the fish, you can create a thin ice shell on the surface of the carcasses, which will serve as a protective function. To do this, quick-frozen fish is dipped in fresh cold water for 3-5 seconds and placed in the freezer compartment. With this method of freezing, tuna carcasses retain their excellent taste for six months.
  • To defrost tuna, place it in the fridge overnight in a plastic or glass container. Do not put frozen tuna in water, as it will wipe out its vitamins and destroy the delicate and soft texture.

Freezing is an ideal opportunity to preserve not only tuna but other products for a long time. Thanks to the low temperature, you can always stock up on healthy food for future use. We recommend that you follow these tips for storing tuna, and it will always be a fresh and tasty delicacy on your table.

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