There is no better comfort food that offers such effortless preparation, such as tuna salad.
Spread it on warm toast or bagel, eat it on its own as a light snack or dinner, serve it alongside crackers as a starter, make a sandwich, mix it with pasta and make a quick lunch when you are in a hurry. Possibilities are endless with this dish.
A tuna salad is a perfect combo of creaminess and crunchiness thanks to its ingredients.
The main ingredients are canned tuna, mayonnaise, red onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, and celery. The optional ingredients are lemon juice, mustard, and pickle relish. In case you are on a diet, you can always substitute mayo with mashed avocado or hummus.
If you love this dish as much as I do and you eat it as often as you can, you might want to learn how to store it properly to prevent food waste. That is why I decided to thoroughly research how long does tuna salad last in the fridge.
What Kind Of Canned Tuna Is The Best Choice For Tuna Salad?
There are two kinds of canned tuna that you can purchase at your supermarket. Those are solid white albacore and skipjack/light tuna.
- Solid white albacore is more expensive and has a less “fishy” taste, which is suitable for people who, in general, are not big fans of a fish. But there is good and bad news when we talk about this type of tuna. The good news is that it has three times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids. The bad news is that it has three times the amount of mercury. That means you should eat it only once per week.
- On the other hand, skipjack tuna has a very particular “fishy” taste, and it costs less since more than 70% of cans are skipjack tuna. It has fewer omega-3 fatty acids as well as less mercury, so you can eat it a few times a week without any risk.
No matter which one you choose, your salad will taste delicious; the only difference is in the amount of a “fishy” aftertaste.
How Long Is Tuna Salad Good For If Stored Correctly?
The precise answer to that question depends on the condiments you used during preparation and on storage conditions.
Tuna salads that are made with mayo can last up to four days in a fridge. After that, it is no longer safe to be eaten since the mayo contains eggs, and a combo of fish and eggs is not ideal for storing for an extended period of time.
Make sure you refrigerate tuna salad within an hour of preparing to be able to keep it fresh for four days. If you leave your tuna salad at room temperature for more than an hour, you risk food poisoning since the mayo goes bad pretty quickly, so better throw it in the garbage.
Tuna salads made with hummus can last in the fridge for five days, at least since there are no eggs nor mayo, so they are safe to use a bit longer but only if they were stored properly and not left to sit on the countertop in your kitchen for hours.
To maximize the shelf life of your tuna salad, you should keep it in an airtight container, preferably with a glass food bowl, since it does not retain smell nor cause cross-contamination compared to the plastic ones. It would be best if you can separate it into smaller portions since this way, the temperature can be evenly distributed.
Also, you must know that you should avoid freezing tuna salad since it contains mayo, which will change its texture to mushy after thawing. Also, canned tuna is not a big fan of the freezer either.
How To Tell If Tuna Salad Is Spoiled?
I hope you are aware that the side effects of eating spoiled food can be very dangerous, and you should take it very seriously. It is crucial to be able to recognize the signs of food getting spoiled before you make a mistake and consume it. The problem with salads and dishes with tuna or any other fish as the main ingredient is that it can be very hard to spot when it starts to go bad.
Luckily there are some signs that you can monitor to be sure if the tuna salad has gone bad or not.
- First of all, a bad appearance should always alarm you to not eat it. If you see any type of discoloration, that should be your queue that the tuna is already spoiled. The most common discoloration that you can spot is greenish, brownish, and dark spots. Discard it without even considering taste testing.
- Tuna has a naturally strong smell, so it’s not easy to decide if it is good or not by smell alone. But if your tuna salad smells funky and unappetizing, get rid of it.
- No matter if there are no visual signs, nor the funky smell, if you know you had been storing the tuna salad for over five days, it is not safe to be eaten anymore that is why I always recommend placing the correct date on the container to avoid mistakes.
The main reason why tuna salad gets spoiled is a combination of warm temperature and the activity of microorganisms, more precisely the toxins they produce, which can cause a severe illness called scombroid food poisoning.
Is It Healthy To Eat Tuna Salad?
Who said that quick meals couldn’t be healthy? But your tuna salad is healthy as the ingredients you use for preparing.
Of course, you can make tuna salad unhealthy by mixing in condiments and ingredients that are high in fat, sugar, and sodium and serving it on highly processed bread, and producing a calorie bomb. Also, if the tuna salad is on your menu more than two times a week, avoid albacore tuna that is high in mercury.
If you keep it plain, you can be sure you are fueling your body with just the right amount of nutrition as well as calories. To cut on calories substitute mayo with Greek yogurt and use tuna canned in water.
Since all canned tunas contain mercury in different doses, it is recommended that women shouldn’t eat more than three 6-ounce servings per month. For men, the boundary is three 8-ounce servings per month. For kids from ages 6 to 12, the boundary is two 4.5-ounce servings per month, and kids under the age of six shouldn’t have more than one 3-ounce serving per month.
A tuna salad is a nutritious side dish or even a dish on its own that is high in vitamins and fibers. There is no excuse for you to not include it in your weekly menu since even if you are averse to cooking, this salad is straightforward to prepare, as I said earlier. Unfortunately, this salad has a relatively short shelf life, and that is the main reason why most people prefer making fresh tuna sandwiches instead of eating a refrigerated salad.
But this salad will come in handy if you have a hectic schedule at work, and you do not have time to go out and grab your lunch from the local restaurant. All you need is a bit of time, a few cans of tuna, a few more key ingredients, and an airtight container, and you can prepare a healthy and light meal to take with you.