Notes in buying and handling fresh tuna

In my previous post, I shared with you a recipe that called for tuna. I decided to share with you a collection of notes when purchasing fresh tuna to avoid from food poisoning. This is not complete and these are just some notes gathered as I learn the process of handling food properly.

Tips when buying fresh tuna:
1. Look for tuna steak with coloring similar to raw beef
2. Avoid with dry or brown spots. There should be no rainbow sheen on the fish.
3. The smell should be "ocean-fresh".
4. If the fish will not be immediately used, quickly store it in the coldest part of the freezer until it is ready to use. Ideal temperature would be -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C).

How to store fresh tuna:
There are several ways to store tuna until it is ready to be used.

a. Prepare a solution made of 1 tablespoon ascorbic acid crystals to 1 quart of water or 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water. Dip the fish in the solution to firm it up. Seal in plastic wrap and then in a zip-top bag.

b. To store it, pat dry, secure the meat in plastic wrap or foil. Seal in a zip-top bag.

c. Freeze the zip-top bag in a container filled with water. Squeeze out all the air and seal the bag. Freeze this up to three months.

To thaw frozen tuna:
Place the sealed package in a container with cold water. Do not use the microwave to thaw.

Mishandled tuna may lead to histamine poisoning, with symptoms such as tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing, a rash, facial flushing, headaches and a metallic or peppery taste in the mouth.

When you feel confident and comfortable, maybe you can try the Pan-seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi-Parsley Sauce in my previous post.

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