How Long Does Tuna Last? Best Ways to Avoid Tuna From Spoiling At Home
Did you know that canned tuna is eaten almost as much as seafood in America? And the most popular dish, as you must have guessed already, is tuna salad!
But tuna salad only tastes good when it’s fresh and delicious. This means getting to know how to store canned tuna and where. This also means finding out how long does tuna last in and out of the fridge.
So in this article, I’ll walk you through all the important questions about tuna and how its shelf life, freshness, and overall taste depend on how you store it.
Let’s just jump into the details…
Keeping Tuna Fresh for Longer Like A Pro
Based on the Academy of Nutrition and Diet, tuna stays fresh for 24 to 48 hours after opening the can. And storing tuna in the refrigerator after opening is necessary. You can store tuna in a glass container, sealed plastic bag, or the airtight seal container it comes in.
Having said that, it’s always better to look at the ‘sell-by and ‘used before dates on the packaging of the tuna itself. This should give you insightful information about the freshness and expiration quality of the food.
Unopened tuna, however, can stay fresh for 3 to 5 years. But only at a dry and cool temperature, not in the refrigerator. So make sure it is stored in a vacuum-sealed container with no signs of spoilage.
The average refrigerator temperature is of 40-degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, the average temperature of a dry and cool place, not refrigerated, is between 66 to 77-degrees Fahrenheit.
So this is how you can figure out the best way to keep canned tuna fresh for longer. And now you know how long does tuna last. But this conversation doesn’t end here. It’s important to also know what it means to store tuna in and out of the fridge. So that’s what I’m going to explore next…
What’s the Best Way to Store Tuna After Opening?
Since you’re storing tuna in the refrigerator, this means you’ve opened the can of tuna. So it’s natural to worry about spoilage or bacteria or odor when keeping tuna in the fridge.
Transfer the tuna to a glass container with a tight lid and seal. Or you can also choose a BPA-free plastic container with a tight seal.
Generally, the container canned tuna comes in is not effective and stable enough for proper storage. So it’s best to move the tuna to something that is food-friendly and refrigerator-friendly. It’ll stay fresh for longer without attracting moisture or growing harmful bacteria.
Opened tuna starts to spoil quickly between 40 to 140-degrees Fahrenheit. That is why opened tuna only lasts for days in the refrigerator. As opposed to unopened tuna that doesn’t spoil when stored outside in a dry and cool place.
Once tuna comes in contact with air, it will immediately start to deteriorate. This might not affect the flavor and odor of tuna for 3-5 days which is a safe window to consume tuna.
I would highly recommend you buy a refrigerator thermometer, or have a fridge with a temperature read-out, to get a better idea about how to store tuna effectively.
What’s the Best Way to Store Tuna Outside?
Unopened tuna will be kept as is, in its can or container, outside. So there’s no need to open and transfer the tuna to a glass container or BPA-free plastic container.
Once the tuna comes in contact with air, it’ll start to lose its quality. So let the canned tuna be, in its own can, until you have to open it. Then, after opening, can you store it in the fridge.
This begs an important question: Can you store tuna outside after refrigeration?
It’s not ideal to leave tuna outside. But, if you need to, you can keep it for 1-2 hours, not more. This is just as important when preparing a dish like a tuna salad with mayo and veggies. The mayo will release water, and so will the vegetables, which will spoil the authentic and rich flavor of a tuna salad. And it might even spoil the tuna causing the bacteria and odor to grow at a faster speed.
If you’ve made a large batch of tuna salad, always scoop out the amount you need. At least that’s how I do it to keep my tuna salad as fresh as possible.
Does Freezing Tuna Help?
Freezing tuna is not a bad idea! There will be a slight change in flavor and texture because of the thawing. Frozen tuna releases water as it thaws. That is why I recommend freezing tuna without adding it to a recipe. You can simply freeze opened tuna, as is, to prolong its shelf life.
You can store and eat frozen tuna for up to 3 months. This is a huge improvement as opposed to storing tuna in the refrigerator since it only lasts for a few days!
Always transfer the tuna into a freezer-friendly container. You can also use a Ziploc freezer-safe bag. It does a much better job of keeping the tuna frozen for longer without water or air getting in.
Once you thaw the frozen tuna, and it smells okay, not moldy, you can easily add it to salads and sandwiches. If the tuna doesn’t smell but it looks weird with a rusted or leaky or bloated appearance, throw it away immediately.
Even if you have a “hunch” that the tuna seems spoiled, do not take the risk of eating it anyway! Spoiled tuna can cause stomach aches, bloating, vomiting, and in worst scenarios, even food poisoning and stomach infection.
If this time you do not want to make spoiled tuna salad, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve got all the information you need to never eat spoiled tuna again. You can store tuna correctly, simplifying your cooking needs.
Since canned tuna is so easy to buy and is available in most supermarkets, you have to know how long does tuna last?
And what YOU can do to make it last longer. This means planning your meals accordingly because once you open tuna, it’ll last for 3-5 days in the refrigerator!