Tuna is one of the most popular fish since the fish is packed with meat and it’s tasty. This deep-sea fish is also versatile as it can be made into sushi known as sashimi, grilled as tuna steak, or used on salads. Since tuna are highly perishable, they will need to be stored at a cool temperature at all times. Would freezing be an option for tuna?
Can you freeze tuna? Yes, you can freeze tuna, either fresh or cooked. Due to their delicate meat, before it can be frozen, it will require some prepping to ensure it will stay fresh in the freezer. Tuna that is properly stored can last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to eat it within that time for the best taste.
Does Tuna Freeze Well?
Like most other seafood, tuna freeze very well. In order for them to stay fresh in the freezer for a long time, they need to be kept in an airtight container or freezer bag and kept at a constant temperature.
Due to their dense meat, tuna doesn’t get freezer burn easily. This makes tuna a great fish to be stored in the freezer.
As with any type of other fish, tuna are highly perishable and need a constant cool temperature to remain fresh and safe to eat.
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How To Freeze Tuna
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Tuna is quite easy to freeze and you won’t need a lot of time preparing them. Freezing tuna can be frozen as a whole fish or you can cut them into portions.
Cutting them into portions will make it easier and quicker when you need to thaw them for use.
Below are the steps to preparing and freezing tuna:
Freezing the Whole Tuna
- Start by gutting the fish and cleaning it thoroughly.
- Using a paper towel, pat the fish until it’s dry.
- On a cling wrapper or aluminum foil, place the tuna on it.
- Wrap the fish around a couple of times.
- In a freezer bag, place the wrapped tuna in there.
- Press the bag to remove any excess air from it.
- Seal the bag tight, label it with the freezing date, and place it into the freezer.
Freezing Cut Tuna
- Pat the cut or sliced tuna with a dry paper towel first. This will prevent water crystals from forming on the fish and changing the texture and flavor of it.
- Place the cut or sliced tuna onto a cling wrapper or aluminum foil. It’s best to freeze each piece of tuna separately.
- Wrap the fish with the wrapper a couple of times around.
- Place the tuna into a freezer bag or an airtight container.
- If using a freezer bag, press the bag to remove any excess air that may be in there.
- Seal the bag or close the lid on the airtight container as tight as possible.
- Label the bag or container with the freezing date and place it into the freezer.
Freezing Tuna Steak
- Prepare a solution with a glass of water and one tablespoon of ascorbic acid crystals. Alternatively, you can replace ascorbic acid with salt if you prefer.
- Mix the solution together in a bowl thoroughly.
- Once the solution is ready, dip the tuna steak in it and leave it there for about 20 seconds. Make sure the entire tuna is submerged under the solution.
- Place the tuna steak onto cling sheets and wrap the fish all around. Wrap it a couple of times around the fish to ensure no air can get into the wrap and damage the fish.
- Place the wrapped tuna stead into an airtight container or freezer bag.
- If using a freezer bag, press on the bag to remove as much excess air from the bag as possible.
- Seal the bag or airtight container tight.
- Label the bag or container and place it into the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Tuna?
Tuna can be frozen for up to 3 months. It can last much longer if it’s properly stored and kept at a constant temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, for most people, that won’t be possible due to the freezer being opened and closed constantly.
After that time, tuna will still be safe to eat, but the quality of it will deteriorate. The meat will start to separate and the taste will become bland.
Therefore, you should try to use frozen tuna within 3 months.
How Do You Defrost Tuna?
When you’re ready to eat or use the frozen tuna, you’ll need to defrost them first. To defrost the fish, take it from the freezer and place the frozen tuna on a plate. Then put it in the fridge and let it thaw. For a small piece of tuna, it will thaw in a couple of hours. Larger tuna should be thawed overnight or for at least 5-6 hours.
If you need to use tuna right away, you can defrost them under running water. For a small piece of tuna, take it out from the freezer and place it under cool running water. Make sure to not remove the fish from the freezer bag. Doing so will cause the tuna to lose some of their taste. Keep it under running water for about 2 minutes and it should thaw completely.
For a larger piece of tuna, place the frozen fish in a bowl of cool water and let it sit on the kitchen countertop. Make sure to not remove the fish from the freezer bag. At room temperature, the tuna should completely thaw within 20 minutes.
Once the tuna is thawed completely, whether it’s a small or large piece of tuna, never let it sit at room temperature. Due to the warm temperature, it will get contaminated with bacteria quickly. If you don’t need to use it right away, place it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Can You Refreeze Tuna?
Yes, you can refreeze tuna. Due to their compacted meat, tuna are less prone to freeze burn. This means you can freeze them again once it’s thawed.
If you’re planning to refreeze tuna, make sure that it has not been sitting at room temperature for a long time. Doing so will cause the fish to spoil due to contaminant from bacteria. As you freeze the tuna, the bacteria will be frozen along with the fish. As it thaws, the bacteria will damage the fish.
Other Questions about Tuna
Can You Freeze Canned Tuna?
Canned tuna can be frozen, but it has to be transferred to a freezer-safe container. The tin can isn’t suitable for freezing as the material is too rigid and will break during freezing.
Scoop the tuna from the can and place them into an airtight container or a freezer bag. Seal the bag or container tight, label it with the freezing date, and place it into the freezer. You will be able to freeze them for up to 3 months.
Can You Freeze Tuna Salad?
Yes, you can freeze tuna salad, even if it’s leftovers. To freeze the tuna salad, you’ll need to get a couple of small airtight containers. Divide the salad into portions so you don’t have to thaw the whole thing at once. Also, freezing them in small quantities will allow the tuna salad to freeze much quicker. This will result in the salad staying fresher in the freezer longer.
A passionate cook and stay-at-home mom. Since I spend most of the time in the kitchen, keeping the pantry clean and organized is a top priority. Besides being a clean freak, I enjoy gardening, hiking and other activities under the sun.