Tuna has made a place for itself among the top consumed fish in the United States. It’s no surprise that this fish ranks so high in this category.
The fish has gained popularity because of its remarkable adaptability, rich flavor, and high oil content. Tuna can be found anywhere in the United States, from high-end restaurants to home cooks’ fridges.
However, every tuna is not the same. All tunas don’t come from the same kind of fish. It depends on the kind of fish, the different types of grades, and the method the tuna was caught and processed for consumption.
Tuna is known for its pink to dark reddish flesh. It’s a fish that feeds on other fish species and a variety of crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, shrimps, crayfish, and krill.
The texture of the fish is quite flaky and flavorful because of its richness and oil content. Tuna is quite popular worldwide because of its versatility in dishes.
You can consume the fish raw, steamed, baked, grilled, and even minced if the recipe requires it.
The majority of tuna consumed in the United States comes in the form of canned tuna. Not all canned tuna is created equal or tastes the same.
The tuna varies depending upon the kind of brand that’s selling it. For example, albacore tuna is generally relatively mild in flavor and the color leans toward light pink to white.
This kind of tuna is usually categorized as solid white and chunk white. The other kind of canned tuna is called chunk light and is prepared from the meat of yellowfin, skipjack, and sometimes even bigeye.
Chunk light has a darker appearance than the previous two and is more robust in terms of flavor.
The most significant production of tuna in the world is greatly dependent upon the skipjack population.
However, most skipjack tuna is sold in cans instead of fresh or frozen. Similarly, yellowfin tuna makes up 58% of the world’s tuna catch. After the skipjack and yellowfin, there are the bigeye, albacore, and Bluefin tuna at 18%, 17%, and 7%.
There has been a debate around buying your tuna meat in cans, fresh or frozen.
Tuna lovers have stated that shopping for fresh tuna can be the hardest compared to canned and frozen tuna.
People buy fresh tuna primarily for their steak and loins. The most common and safest pick for fresh tuna is yellowfin, bigeye, albacore, and Bluefin.
Tuna meat is packed with great nutrients that are good for your heart health and a great source to lower your cholesterol levels.
The high protein level and omega-3 in the tuna benefit anyone opting for low-carb diets such as the keto and Whole30 diet.
Other benefits to look out for in tuna are vitamin D, vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Coming to frozen tuna now. After tuna has been frozen, it undergoes what is known as oxidation. When the tuna meat is exposed to cool air, the color of the tuna tends to get darker.
However, to avoid the color turning very dark, it’s recommended to freeze the meat below -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
The natural pink to bright red color of tuna meat is due to the presence of a component known as myoglobin. Myoglobin is a pigment found in fish that is responsible for storing the oxygen in their bodies to help them survive inside the water.
The myoglobin in the flesh causes the tuna meat to turn brown when exposed to a cool temperature above -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
This happens due to the oxidation that takes place in the flesh due to oxygen.
However, not all brown tuna is safe to eat. In many cases, the brown color is due to oxidation because of myoglobin.
There can be different kinds of brown tuna that make it safe to eat or not. Frozen tuna is typically pinkish or reddish because it is treated with carbon monoxide to retain its natural color when frozen.
Moreover, when tuna is caught fresh and frozen immediately, it will retain its reddish hue and turn brown.
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Image credit: A Fish Company, Dixon Fisheries