Also known as:

Albacore, bluefin tuna, blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna (or ahi), skipjack tuna (or aku), bonito, bigeye tuna, tunny.


Waters: Temperate salt waters worldwide.

A large, muscular, extremely fast swimmer of the mackerel family. Most species have blue or blue-black backs that fade into silvery sides and bellies. Smallest are skipjacks (5 to 40 lbs.), followed by albacores (10 to 60 lbs.), and yellow-fin (can weigh several hundred lbs.) blue-fin is largest (up to one ton).

The dense and firm meat is tender, full-flavored, and flaky. While tuna usually contains a moderate amount of fat, it can be on the oily side. The meat ranges in color from pale pinkish-white (albacore) to dark red (blue-fin, yellow-fin) in general, the darker the tuna, the stronger the flavor. The color of the flesh lightens ofter the meat is cooked. The skin is tough and inedible.

Best Cooking:

Until recently, tuna has been regarded strictly as an out-of-the- can treat. Cooks are becoming increasingly aware of the versatility and fine flavor of the fresh, beef-like meat. Fresh or frozen steaks are excellent grilled, and can be stuffed with fresh herbs and spices before grilling. Steaks can also be broiled, baked, poached, or pan-fried. It is easy to overcook tuna, so take care many cooks prefer to sear or char the meat, leaving a pink center.

Buying Tips:

Look for moist, unmarred steaks that glisten and are free of browning, gaping, and signs of drying. Generally, prefer steaks that are of uniform color (except for the mid-lateral strip of dark meat, which many cooks prefer to remove before cooking).

Nutrition Value:

Tuna, 3 oz. (85g) (cooked, dry heat)
Calories: 156
Protein: 25.4g
Carbohydrate: 0.0g
Total Fat: 5.3g
Fiber: 0.0g
Excellent source* of: Selenium (39.8mcg), Niacin (8.9mg), and Vitamin B12 (9.2mcg)
Good source* of: Magnesium (54.4mg)

When cooked (dry heat), tuna (bluefin, fresh) provides 1.504 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, derived from EPA** (0.363g) and DHA*** (1.141g), per 100 grams of tuna (bluefin, fresh).

When canned in water and drained, tuna (light) provides 0.272 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, derived from EPA** (0.047g), DHA*** (0.223g), and ALA**** (0.002g), per 100 grams of tuna (canned in water and drained).

When canned in oil and drained, tuna (light) provides 0.202 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, derived from EPA** (0.027g), DHA*** (0.101g), and ALA**** (0.074g), per 100 grams of tuna (canned in oil and drained).

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
**EPA - Eicosapentaenoic Acid
***DHA - Docosahexaenoic Acid
****ALA - Alpha Lipoic Acid

Substitutes for Tuna:

Blackfish, bluefish, mackerel, salmon.


Before cooking, you may want to remove the mid-lateral section of dark meat that runs through some steaks, which can have a strong, fishy, somewhat bitter flavor.

Fresh tuna is delicious served raw, sashimi- or sushi-style (Japanese cooks prefer to find leaner cuts of tuna for this purpose). Also popular in Japan is tsuna hamu-smoked tuna sausage.

Canned, precooked tuna may be packed in oil or water and is sold in a "white" or "light" (albacore) variety and a "dark" (bluefin or skipjack) variety. "Solid" or "fancy" denotes large pieces of tuna, "chunk" is medium-sized, and "flaked" or "grated" is small bits and pieces. Italian tonno is brined, oil-packed dark-meat tuna.

Tuna winters in warmer southern waters and migrates northward in springtime you will find it fresh and "in season" in fish markets from May until late fall.

All tuna harber bacteria in their meat, that if not handled correctly can cause scombroid poisoning in humans.

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