Tuna are a group of ocean fishes from the family Scombridae, particularly of the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of 70 km/h (43 mph). Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule, which tuna express in quantities far higher than most other fish. Some larger tuna species, such as bluefin tuna, display some warm-blooded adaptations, and can raise their body temperatures above water temperatures by means of muscular activity. This enables them to survive in cooler waters and to inhabit a wider range of ocean environments than other types of fish.
Canned tuna was first produced in 1903, quickly becoming popular. Tuna is canned in edible oils, in brine, in water, and in various sauces. In the United States, 52% of canned tuna is used for sandwiches; 22% for salads; and 15% for casseroles and dried, packaged meal mixes.
In the United States, only Albacore can legally be sold in canned form as "white meat tuna"; in other countries, yellowfin is also acceptable. While in the early 1980s canned tuna in Australia was most likely Southern bluefin, as of 2003 it was usually yellowfin, skipjack, or tongol (labelled "northern bluefin").
As tunas are often caught far from where they are processed, poor interim conservation can lead to spoilage. Tuna is typically gutted by hand, and later pre-cooked for prescribed times of perhaps 45 minutes to three hours. The fish are then cleaned and filleted, canned, and sealed, with the dark lateral blood meat often separately canned for pet food. The sealed can itself is then heated (called retort cooking) for 2 to 4 hours. This process kills any bacteria, but retains the histamine that can produce rancid flavors. The international standard sets the maximum histamine level at 200 milligrams per kilogram. An Australian study of 53 varieties of unflavored canned tuna found none to exceed the safe histamine level, although some had "off" flavors.
Australian standards once required cans of tuna to contain at least 51% tuna, but these regulations were dropped in 2003. The remaining weight is usually oil or water. In the US, the FDA regulates canned tuna (see part c). In 2008, some tuna cans changed from 6 ounces (170 g) to 5 ounces (140 g) due to "higher tuna costs".
Canned tuna can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It sometimes contains over 300 milligrams (0.011 oz) per serving.
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Tuna Salad Platter
Copyright 2012, Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.
2 (5 oz) cans tuna, drained
1/4 cup light may
1 tablespoon dill relish
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
1/2 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and cut in 1/2
In a bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. Arrange the tuna, eggs and crackers on a plate. Enjoy!
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