Need answer ASAP - Tuna, water or no?

Pepfun1-2(8)October 15, 2012

Does anyone know why it's no longer deemed safe to can tuna WITH OUT water or oil? Both BBB and NCHFP say to add water or oil now. Getting ready to can up 15#'s and was hoping to do it without the addition. Anyone? TIA

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OOPs, sorry bout the double post...didn't show that the first one posted when I refreshed =(.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:47PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The current USDA Guide and the NCHFP book So Easy to Preserve do provide instructions for raw-pack. Why the NCHFP has not included those instructions I do not know.

The precooking hot pack instructions are meant to counteract the strong flavors associated with the dark meat and to "rend" some of the oils. It's a quality issue not a safety one.

We raw pack our tuna and just trim it really well. Same processing time and no added water or oil. I've attached a link to the relevant chapter of the USDA guide. Check page 14.


Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Guide Meats and Seafoods

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Thank you for your response Carol. To quote the USDA for tuna in the link you sent me: "Tuna may be packed in water or oil, whichever is preferred. Add water or oil to jars, leaving 1-inch headspace." this is also what the NCHFP states. I read that as one or the other but one or the other must be used. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:29PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes one or the other must be used IF you are packing it pre-cooked because much of the oil and moisture will have been removed by the cooking.

Note how the instructions in both sources discuss in detail all about how to cook it first and then can it and the reference to water or oil is part of that discussion.

They do not discuss canning it raw. So if you want to raw pack then as Carol said, "Same processing time and no added water or oil."


    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:59PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I concede that the USDA Guide is not very clear. No, let me correct that. It is extremely unclear. They need a new writer.

The relevant sentence is Tuna may be canned either precooked or raw. All the instructions following pertain to hot pack. Too bad they didn't say so.

It's perfectly fine to raw pack and not add anything but salt, if you wish. The tuna will exude plenty of oil on its own.

Let's try again with the link to Oregon State Extension's document. It's a whole lot clearer. I should have done that in the first place.


Here is a link that might be useful: Oregon State Extension Canning Seafood

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:37PM
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I agree that a new writer is needed Carol lol. Well, I wasn't able to wait as I was on a tight schedule so I added water. I assume they are fine really but the last few jars that I still need to do I'll omit the water =). Thanks again for the clarification!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

We are recommending water added to the tuna, not just raw packed. It makes a better end product, in my opinion. More moist. Next time I am going to use vegetable broth. That is what the commercial cans have and I like that flavor.
However, if you canned it without water, I would still say it is safe, it is just a preference of texture and flavor.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 2:43PM
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Oh linda_lou I'm so glad you chimed in. I just noticed you are in SW am I =). I think I've read that you're a Master Food Preserver and I thought I'd read on another post that you mentioned it had changed for the tuna, just not why. I did most with water and I must say they are at least more aesthetically pleasing then the ones without water. I'm hoping to be able to sign up to take the Master Food Preserver through our local extension office so I can teach classes. I have so many friends that ask me for advice and I want to make sure I give the correct, best, and safest advice I can =). Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 3:13PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

That clarification is very helpful. It makes sense.

Still, it's unfortunate the sources aren't more explicit.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 10:42PM
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