Packed full of protein, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids, tuna is a nutrition-rich fish that is also very tasty to eat.
There’s no denying that canned tuna is pretty delicious in its own right, but if you’re looking to maximize your nutritional fix from tuna, fresh is best.
However, and just like all fresh meat, there are some guidelines on when and how to properly store tuna.
In this article, we are going to take an insightful look into the dos and don’ts of storing tuna in a variety of conditions, including the fridge.
When you’re up to speed on the correct storage of tuna, we will then fill you in on what to look out for if there’s some suspicious-looking tuna in the fridge.
Getting food poisoning from tuna is something that nobody wants, which is why, learning a thing or two about storing raw tuna is so important, not just for your own health, but for your family’s too.
How Long Does Raw Tuna Last In The Fridge?
Diving straight into the crux of this article, after purchase, raw tuna will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge.
This short window of consumption should be in line with the “sell-by” date on the tuna’s package, but it’s still important to know the signs of a tuna steak on the turn (more on that later).
Making sure your fridge is functioning at the optimal temperature is also super important, as a fridge that is too warm will have disastrous effects on not just the raw tuna but your other fresh food too.
Keeping your fridge at or below 40°F is your best defense against raw tuna spoiling before you get a chance to eat it.
To prolong the amount of time that raw tuna stays fresh in your fridge, it’s best to keep it in its original air-tight packaging from the fishmongers or store.
How Long Does Cooked Tuna Last In The Fridge?
Once cooked, tuna will last for up to five days in the fridge, granted the right fridge storage conditions are met.
However, if possible, it is recommended to eat tuna no more than 3-4 days after it is cooked. Even though it may last a little longer, when dealing with tuna, and any type of meat for that matter, the quicker you eat it, the better.
Remember to always store cooked tuna in the fridge in an air-tight container to maximize its fridge shelf-life.
How Long Does Raw Tuna Keep At Room Temperature?
Room temperature is the most “at-risk” temperature for fresh food where microbial growth is concerned. We know, sometimes even with the best intentions, raw tuna will be left on the kitchen bench for longer than you anticipated (these things happen).
Depending on how long the raw tuna has been left on the bench will determine whether it’s bin-bound or can still be cooked with.
It is understood that if raw tuna has been left at room temperature for longer than two hours, then it is not recommended to be eaten.
Bacteria growth can be rapid on raw tuna that is left in temperatures ranging between 40°F and 140°F, so that means as soon as it’s taken out of the fridge, the clock starts ticking.
This goes for traveling back from the store too. If you’ve got a particularly long drive back from the store, then bringing along a cooler with a few frozen ice packs inside is never a silly idea.
How Long Does Raw Tuna Last In The Freezer?
Storing raw tuna in the freezer significantly increases its time for consumption.
If, for whatever reason, you over-ordered on tuna, or you lucked into your PB fishing tuna out at sea, and you’ve got way too much tuna to get through in 1-2 days of refrigeration, then freezing it is your best bet.
If properly stored in an air-tight container, raw tuna can be eaten up to three months after freezing it.
If you cook it first and then freeze it, the time frame for safe consumption of frozen tuna increased to four months at a maximum.
Can You Eat Raw Tuna?
In short, yes, you can eat some raw tuna, however, the keyword in this sentence is “some”. If you’re looking to eat tuna raw, then you must ensure that the tuna that you’re buying is “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade”.
This classification means that whoever is selling the tuna has deemed it fresh enough to eat raw.
Having trust in the place where you buy tuna, is, therefore, super important, as there’s no across-the-board grading on this classification, it is simply down to their opinion.
If you’re looking to eat tuna raw, then knowing the variety of tuna can be another great way of making your own judgment on it, and no tuna is better eaten raw than premium bluefin tuna.
How Do You Know If Raw Tuna Has Gone Bad?
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are with storing, raw tuna has a tendency to go bad, real bad.
When assessing whether a raw tuna steak has passed the point of no return, it all comes down to the senses of smell, sight, touch, but most definitely not taste.
Tuna can be a bit stinky at the best of times, which is why smell can be a slightly tricky sense. However, if you have ever had the pleasure of getting a whiff of gone-off tuna, then you will know, it is pretty distinctly grotesque.
Unlike raw tuna that has the all too familiar fishy smell of the sea, the gone-off variety will smell pungent and sour, and, if gone enough, will turn your stomach in an instant.
You can tell a lot about raw tuna just by its sight. If raw tuna is vibrant red in color then this is a good indication that it is fresh and safe to eat.
A sign of raw tuna going off is if the red color starts to dull and turn a shade of grey. Another color that you should be on the lookout for is when a tuna steak goes green.
Greening tuna is a sign that bacteria has already found its way onto the meat and, unfortunately, needs to book a one-way ticket for the bin.
If you’re still not sure about your raw tuna after investigating its sight and smell, then touching it is your next best bet. Raw fish will generally have a little sliminess to it, and that’s ok, for it is fish after all.
Problems arise when a raw tuna steak is clearly more slimy than when you first bought it, and, in line with the smell and sight of it, you can make a fairly safe assumption that it has gone off.
Whether you eat it raw or cooked, tuna is a delicious fish that’s deserving of a place in your fridge first, your pan second, and your mouth third.
However, the concerns of eating gone-off tuna should be taken very seriously, especially when your whole family’s health is at stake.
We hope this article had given you some valuable tools and insights into how to best store tuna in the fridge and keep a keen eye on whether it’s safe to serve or not.
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