Tuna: Main Image

Buying Tips

Quality tuna is easy to recognize. The eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive. The gills should be reddish, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering, shiny scales. Fresh tuna flesh will be pink or red, without any hint of browning. Fresh tuna never has a rainbow pattern on the surface of the meat. When choosing tuna fillets, steaks, or loins, whether they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh.


Albacore, found in both Atlantic and Pacific waters, is the only kind that can be labeled “white meat tuna.” Bluefin, a large, oily species, is usually canned as “light meat” tuna or eaten raw. Yellowfin (called ahi in Hawaii) is the least oily kind of tuna; it is flavorful (but not strongly so) when cooked, and is good eaten raw. Bigeye is valued for sashimi. Bonito is among the smallest tuna, and has red meat. Tuna comes whole, in steaks, fillets, or loins, and fresh, frozen, or canned.

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