What Does Albacore Taste Like?

It’s safe to say that most people have tried a tuna sandwich at one point or another. However, the commercially canned tuna that is lining the shelves of the grocery stores nationwide, may give Albacore a bad rep. The flavor and texture that you get from canned tuna are completely different from what you will find eating a fresh Albacore steak. 

Fresh albacore has more of a steak-like texture, with a very mild fishy taste. It is not metallic or salty (unless it’s cooked that way). Fresh Albacore can be described as buttery and tender. It is popularly seared in a frying pan with oil and lemon or grilled. 

What is an Albacore? 

The Albacore Tuna was first scientifically described by Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre in 1788. They are found in every ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. Swimming up to 50 miles per hour, they cover a lot of territories.  It can also go by the name of Long Fin Tuna, due to its long pectoral fins. 

The Albacore can grow up to 5ft long and can weigh 133lbs. They are able to reproduce when they reach 5 or 6 years old and can live up to 12 years. Perhaps ironically, they are considered one of the top predator fish in the marine food chain. They typically prey on smaller schools of fish such as sardines, anchovy, and squids. 

Fishing and Harvesting  

Albacore is one of the most prized fish on the market and has a huge economical impact. Harvesting for commercial use started in the early 20th century, and by 1920 the canned tuna business was booming. There was a brief time the Albacore was listed as “nearly threatened” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature but is now back to “Least concern” due to enforcement of regional fishing quotas.

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 Fishermen usually have to travel 50-100 miles off the coast to find tuna grounds, though occasionally they can be found a bit closer. Acceptable fishing methods include pole fishing, longline fishing, trolling, and sometimes purse seining. These expeditions can last 1-3 days. 

The Albacore, along with the skipjack tuna, are the only two labeled as “whitefish” tuna. The majority of Albacore in the US is caught off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii. Fishing vessels off the West Coast need to keep logs of all they catch that day. There are also many measures in place to help protect any interactions with Sea Turtles and Dolphins. 

Is Albacore Tuna Good For You? 

Albacore tuna shares many of the nutritional values of other types of tuna, such as being a rich source of protein, high selenium, and Vitamin B12. Fresh tuna is naturally higher in protein than canned, is free of preservatives, and has significantly less sodium. Fresh Albacore also has higher amounts of the famously heart-healthy omega 3s. It is a low-calorie food and can be beneficial when trying to lose weight or gain muscle. 

It is important to note, however, that Albacore is also higher in mercury than other types of tuna, so should certainly be consumed in moderation. It’s not recommended for pregnant or nursing women to have more than 3-6oz of tuna per week. 

How to Keep Fresh Tuna

The one downfall of buying fresh tuna vs canned tuna is its shelf life. Unlike canned tuna which can be kept in your cupboard for years if left unopened, Albacore needs to be eaten right away after buying. It will stay good in the fridge for about 2 days, so if you do not think you will eat it by then, you should put it in the freezer. 

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There are two ways to freeze fresh tuna to maintain its texture and flavor. The first is to dip in salt water, then wrap in saran wrap and place in the coldest part of your freezer. The second is to pat it completely dry before placing it in a freezer bag. This ensures the water droplets won’t change the texture. Fresh Albacore tuna is good in a small freezer for 2-3 months, and in deep freeze for up to a year. 

Final Thoughts

Globally, the tuna trading industry brings in over 40 billion dollars every year. Tuna is the second most popular seafood right behind shrimp and is generally cheaper. The possibilities for preparing and cooking albacore are endless, and your tastebuds will thank you. Canned tuna is just scratching the surface of what Albacore has to offer, and it’s time to expand our horizons.