Opening canned tuna is a quick and easy way to add protein to your diet, especially when you’re short on time. But sometimes you might find yourself with more tuna than you can eat and wonder whether it’s a good idea to freeze it.
The good news is that you can freeze tuna from a can for up to three months. In fact, freezing canned tuna is a common practice among home cooks and meal preppers who want to extend its shelf life and reduce waste.
But before you freeze your tuna, there are some factors that you have to consider, such as its texture, moisture content, and packaging. Not following proper freezing techniques can result in mushy, dry, or even unsafe tuna.
In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of freezing tuna from a can, including the steps you need to take to ensure that your tuna will stay safe and tasty despite being frozen. So whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting out in the kitchen, read on for tips on how to freeze tuna like a pro.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Tuna from a Can
When it comes to freezing tuna from a can, there are a few factors you need to consider to ensure the quality and safety of the fish. These factors include:
1. Quality & Freshness of Tuna
Before freezing your leftover canned tuna, it is important to check the quality of the fish. This is because your canned tuna may have been exposed to dust and other food contaminants if it has been left open for a while.
Freezing tuna that is already past its prime will not improve its quality and may even lead to further degradation. So once it looks or smells off, you will be better off discarding it to avoid food poisoning.
2. Can Quality & Damage
It is also important to check the tuna for any signs of damage or rust before freezing. A damaged can will contaminate the tuna inside, so it should be thrown away.
3. Proper Storage Conditions Before Freezing
If you’re planning on freezing tuna from a can, make sure it has been stored properly prior to freezing.
Tuna that has been left out at room temperature for an extended period should not be frozen, as it may have already developed harmful bacteria.
Safe Ways to Freeze Tuna from a Can
Canned tuna can be safely stored in the freezer to prolong its shelf life and reduce food waste. Below are some ways to freeze tuna safely:
Using an Airtight Container
If you have leftover tuna at home that still looks fresh, you can transfer it to an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Just make sure to leave some headspace to allow for expansion during freezing.
Using a Plastic Freezer Bag
To be more space efficient, you can also place the tuna in a plastic freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
Removing the air will prevent any moisture from developing inside the bag and help prevent freezer burn.
Using Aluminum Foil
Alternatively, you can wrap your leftover tuna tightly in aluminum foil. But you should also leave no gaps or openings to help protect the tuna from freezer burn.
The foil can help keep the tuna’s shape and prevent it from sticking together or getting damaged in the freezer, as well. This will make it easier for you to portion it out and thaw only the amount you need for a specific recipe.
Other Freezing Techniques
While quite uncommon, it is possible to freeze tuna in ice cube trays. This makes it a lot easier to portion and thaw. Some people choose to vacuum-seal the tuna for longer-term storage as well.
Regardless of the method you used, be sure to label the container or bag with its freezing date so you can keep track of its shelf life.
Tips for Thawing Frozen Tuna from a Can
Thawing frozen tuna should be done gradually and safely to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. So the best way to thaw frozen tuna is to place it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
But if you are short on time, you can also thaw your tuna by placing it in a sealed plastic bag and submerging it in cold water for a while. Never thaw frozen tuna at room temperature or in hot water, as this can increase the risk of bacterial growth and cause your tuna to spoil faster.
Freezing tuna from a can is a great way to extend its shelf life and ensure that you always have some on hand for quick and easy meals. However, it is important to consider the factors that can affect its quality and safety before freezing.
By following the tips mentioned in this article, you can freeze tuna from a can safely and effectively. So you can eat it together with your favorite dishes even months later.