Canned Tuna in oil or water, which is better?

Tuna in Oil vs Water | Best for Preparedness Pantry

Canned Tuna in oil or water, which is better?

Tuna in oil or tuna in water.

What’s the difference between them?

And which should I get for my long term storage deep pantry?

Tuna in Oil vs Water

The main difference is tuna in oil has about four times as much fat. And more calories per can.

If you’re here viewing this from a weight conscious point of view, then tuna in water is your answer! Though you probably instinctively already knew that.

From a preparedness point of view, in my opinion tuna in oil is the way to go.

Tuna in Oil | How many Grams of Fat

A 5 ounce can of solid Genova Yellowfin Tuna in oil (olive) has 8 grams of fat.

39% of total calories are from fat.

Per 2 oz. (drained) serving:

90 calories
4 grams of fat
13 grams of protein

Note there are 2 servings per 5 oz. can.

Tuna in Water | How many Grams of Fat

A 5 ounce can of solid Chicken of the Sea White Albacore Tuna in water has 1 gram of fat.

8% of total calories are from fat.

Per 2 oz. (drained) serving:

60 calories
0.5 grams of fat
15 grams of protein.

Note there are 2 servings per 5 oz. can.

Tuna in Oil | Better for Preparedness

Overall, it seems that from a preparedness standpoint, tuna in oil may be the better choice.

Why? Because of higher fat and calorie content.

It may seem counter intuitive during times of non-emergency or while being health-aware. But more fat and calories will be important during challenging times.

Mercury in Tuna

Caution: Be aware of the dangers of mercury in tuna. The general advice that I’ve read is to not consume more than one or two cans of tuna per week.

Popular Choices in Tuna

Genova Yellowfin Tuna (canned in oil)

Chicken of the Sea Tuna (in water)

Which Tastes Better?

The Tuna Taste Test

Apart from the preparedness benefit of more fat and calories for tuna in oil, which tastes better? Tuna in oil or tuna in water?

Mrs.J likes solid white tuna in water.
Mr.J likes, well, I better like what she likes?

Continue reading: Canned Protein Foods for Preparedness

More: How Much Protein in your Deep Pantry?

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  1. Which has the longer shelf-life? Which will spoil quicker? Granted, heat is the enemy of canned goods. But, all things being equal, which type of canned tuna is safer?

    1. My instinct tells me since both types are commercially canned under the same process, it’s probably similar. Though oils will go rancid after some time, depending on conditions.

      Most all canned foods (grocery) will have a best-by or use-by date no longer than 2 years from manufacture.

      If food storage is consumed and rotated according to one’s consumption habits, it should all be good. Which gets into the notion of store what you eat and eat what you store…

      1. I can say that I’ve eaten older cans of tuna, some near 5 years and I was not able to detect a difference in taste with fresh. Both oil and water examples, but both were canned vs. pouch. I have no experience with old pouches, but my theory is it would be similar.

        Which are better to store – the pouch or can ? To me, the pouch is easier to store and more able to fine-tune the portion. The can provides a useful container for after its consumed.

    2. We just finished off our pre-Fukushima tuna a couple of weeks ago. I think the expiration date was about 5 years ago. Three cans all packed in water. All tasted fine.

  2. Just this week, I open 2 cans of Star Fish tuna. 6.5oz in oil, dated 2002.
    Looked, tasted just fine, cooked in a tuna casserole.

  3. Last few years we purchased our tuna in water out of the Costco store. Rarely purchase tuna from the grocery store as we are not large consumers of this fish in a cooked dish, will use it for sandwiches. Of course the cats get a little treat at that time.

    1. AC, Wife loves the Costco Tuna and is somewhat of a tuna snob. Will only eat the Albacore and is disgusted when it is packed in oil. Shortly after I got together with her I was making tuna fish sandwiches for her son and myself. He stopped me in a moderate panic to tell me I was doing it wrong and that I was supposed to crumble the tuna with my fingers and not with a fork. He was 12 at the time.

      SMG 6.5 ounces in 2002 versus 5 ounces now. Reminds me of that old song. Where have all the flowers gone, now substitute product gone.

      We are fortunate in that the albacore life cycle brings them fairly close to shore here. they are best when fresh off of the boat.

      Scromboidosis is a form of fish poisoning that occurs after eating bad tuna. It mimics a fish allergy but is caused my too much histamine production from not cooling the catch adequately somewhere between hook or net and table. Although rarely fatal a visit to the ER is probably a good idea. If that is not an option, H-1 and H-2 blockers are indicated. Benadryl is an H-1 blocker and Tagamet and Zantac are common H-2 blockers. Look up the dosing as if I tell you I’m practicing medicine with out a license. It can occur after eating other kinds of fish although I don’t believe it occurs with freshwater species.

      1. If recall correctly the finer the tuna the larger and older the fish is. They have canned the white part of the meat and will have more Mercury. Cheaper tuna means smaller younger fish and thus less Mercury.

    2. Why eat tuna at all. There are other fish in a can.
      Mercury is extremely toxic and many of us have a great deal of it in us from many sources. Older people have it from fillings. Coal fired generators produce it.
      The half life in the brain is 27 years. The symptoms are debilitating. Treatment is difficult. It just ain’t worth the risk.
      Do sardines sound better?
      I also avoid swordfish and Spanish Mackerel.
      Ok, tuna rant over.

      1. Your concerns are valid. Though diversification of foods is good general practice when building up a deeper storage for preparedness.

        Eating tuna every day probably isn’t a good idea.

      2. Paleo, ( and me)

        Yes, we have cut our use of tuna to once every 3 months. we buy in lots of 6 cans.I get oil pack and water pack and use one of each in recipes calling for 2 cans….we do not like the taste of the water pack but is almost all is available here…so stock up on oil when we have avail. and is on the list….. and do rotate it.

        Your point is valid. One should also know how to do a heavy metal detox and have materials on had to do that…and have full knowledge as far as personal tolerances and mitigation needs… use and indications of need… of herbal detoxifiers like dandelion, milk thistle, serrapeptase, chlorella,and cordycepts.

        Mackerel or Salmon maybe 2 x a year. Sardines sounds horrid,… Not happenin’!… kipper not much better. fresh caught from the pond only slightly better. Just not a fish eater. Fresh not available unless pond raised this far inland. No China fish here.

        I echo your comment only slightly… There are other MEATS in a can..

        …….!. and the amounts of meat in each can is becoming less and less….with more packing juices.

        Me I would add to that know emergency dosing for different weights of individual s and have record of known allergies of those in your house..OF EACH medicine you have on hand and written clearly visible somewhere….

        .Keeping an easily absorbed form comes in handy…place under the tongue, if not in a syrup a dose is most quickly absorbed and effective… crushed and in jelly or honey..

  4. I prefer the tuna in oil. I don’t drain it and then crumble stale bread in it. The bread soaks up the oil and adds volume. It still taste the same and you get more and don’t waste the stale bread. You have to stretch things as far as possible when you’re feeding a house full of kids on a tight budget.

      1. I like sardines in oil. In my country I never seen one can with water. I did not know about best before date for sardines can. I eat in army can of spam. It was older than myself. And it was good. I was not so young in that time.

  5. IMHO we all should stay away from (Boycott) StarKist tuna; it is run by Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Since there is a lot of quality tuna out there why should we enrich those who seek to destroy our Rights/our country?

    1. I had no Idea that nasty womans husband was affiliated with Starkist! Thank you for the info, I will try very hard now to avoid that brand, she has to be one of the biggest criminals in history!

  6. As a side note, if you are making boxed Macaroni and Cheese with tuna in it the oil packed tuna oil can replace the butter it calls for on the box nicely. Add a little powdered milk and you are in business without refrigerated dairy.

  7. Someone posted on the Open Forum about using tuna with the oil. I remembered reading about a large number of tuna sandwiches being made in Seattle during the Depression using one can of tuna with bread crumbs and cod liver oil. I found one of the 2 recipes I have seen – For 50 sandwiches that were priced at 5 cents each, combine 1 quart bread crumbs, 1 small can tuna, and 1 cup cod liver oil. Evidently they sold out every time. I wouldn’t recommend this specific recipe, but not throwing out the oil depending on how you are using the tuna makes sense in these inflationary times. When I was a teenager cooking for 6 on the family farm, I stretched burger with oatmeal and even created a recipe where I mixed taco meat with chili beans and we had it on buns with cheese. I called it a chili burger and everyone loved it. Kind of a modern take on bean sandwiches. The head of Spartan Nash this morning said their suppliers are raising prices on average 12%.

  8. Decided to bottle all my yellow fin tuna I caught in September. Did half in olive oil and half in water. The olive oil tuna had better color after 1:40 minutes in a pressure cooker. Having tuna casserole tonight from the oil bottled.

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