The best canned, jarred, and preserved seafood to eat and cook beyond merely tuna

Canned Fish Review 4x3

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  • The phrase canned seafood might conjure upward images of soggy tuna sandwiches, but conservas, as preserved fish and shellfish are reverentially known on the Iberian peninsula, are zip if non versatile and salubrious.
  • We spoke with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Sentinel program and consulted the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on which canned fish and shellfish are all-time for us to eat, and which are best left to the sea.
  • What did we learn? A tin can or jar that claims sustainability is not necessarily sustainable, simply wild salmon, herring, sardines, and even some varieties of tuna are all good choices (with a few stipulations), as are nigh shellfish including oysters, clams, and mussels.
  • Read more: Where to purchase the best-tasting, highest-quality seafood online

While fresh and frozen meat and seafood suppliers experience shortages and other complications, it’s loftier fourth dimension we get creative with our diets and learn to love and appreciate the centuries-old fine art form of preserving fish and shellfish. And we’re non talking almost your typical commonsensical tuna sandwich here; canned, tinned, and jarred seafood — or
equally it’s more affectionately known on the Iberian peninsula — tin can exist a bonafide delicacy, if you know where to shop.

Plus, if you lot’re annihilation like u.s.a. at this stage of quarantine — scouring the internet for recipes, tips, and tricks on what to do with sundry dry out goods and nonperishables in your pantry — yous know there’southward no better time than the present to get familiar with
fruits de mer. After all, canned and jarred fish may well be the superlative survival food. Packed with poly peptide and uniformly meaty, at that place’s no telling how many cans of sardines, oysters, herring, and, yes, tuna, you tin can reasonably stack in your cabinets or in the body of your car.

To get an thought of what to wait for, nosotros rang upwardly the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch programme. “The best product is the product that you have some data virtually,” says Senior Programme Manager, Ryan Bigelow. “There are sustainable items, or responsible items if you’re more comfortable with that term, across the gamut…there are companies that are trying to exercise it ameliorate, and you can certainly run across that in the canned space likewise.”

The best way to find out whether or not a can of preserved seafood is sustainable isn’t to have its characterization for gospel, simply to figure out the place of origin (or landing) of the fish and the method past which it was defenseless. This volition help you steer clear of foods produced using questionable practices, which can involve anything from indentured servitude to ruthless environmental degradation.

Sustainability vs. diet

But how practise nosotros navigate the murky waters where sustainability and diet intersect? Groups like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Sentry plan and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) highlight sustainable choices and set environmental standards, while the Environmental Working Group (EWG) offers nutritional ratings and guidelines, but these recommendations are ofttimes at odds when your wellness and the oceans’ health come into play.

Your best bet is to compare and contrast the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch’due south total listing of recommended species (the MSC can be helpful, besides, but maintains slightly looser regulations around fishing methods) and the EWG’s database of scores for canned fish.

By and big, the overarching message from Seafood Lookout, the MSC, and the EWG, is that the best thing we can do when shopping for fish is to limit our consumption of bigger, more popular species such equally tuna (pole-and-line-caught skipjack and albacore are exceptions) and salmon (apart from pinkish and sockeye, many salmon species are woefully overfished in the wild, and farming brings its own complications). Smaller species similar herring, sardines (though merely from the N Pacific) and shellfish (farmed or wild) tend to be both more than nutritious and environmentally friendly.

Nosotros found the best options where Seafood Watch and EWG’s ratings (based on a ane-ten scale, ane existence healthiest) intersect and indicated those ratings (when they were available) in our canned seafood roundup, below. We as well looked at prices and ultimately (though highly subjectively) tastiness based on feel. In the example of tuna, however, we overlooked the EWG’south ratings considering, inherently, when you’re eating tuna, you’re consuming some level of mercury.

Wild Planet offers some of the healthiest (no salt added)
most sustainable canned seafood out there. Its products are also some of the tastiest nosotros’ve tried; sardines in extra virgin olive oil with lemon are a standout.


Wild Planet/Facebook

Wild Planet Wild Sardines In Extra Virgin Oil with Lemon

EWG rating: ane.half-dozen-x (meet unchecked mercury in albacore)

Wild Planet may not offer the same variety as other brands, but chalk that upward to attention to detail. The company produces only what it comfortably can, and equally the name suggests, everything is wild-caught, and done so in relatively sustainable ways.

In general, the brand doesn’t toss in as much salt as others do, only that ratio can vary from product to product. All in all, though, you can feel pretty good about eating sardines from Wild Planet.

As for larger species, information technology sources “pole and line-caught” albacore tuna from the Pacific Northwest (though their wild sockeye appears to exist netted, which is mutual and considered sustainable), and Seafood Picket green-lights the brand’s skipjack tuna.

Wild Planet likewise sells some of the virtually responsibly-caught yellowtail amberjack (a prized sushi fish) in a can. They may non be the but brand to include yellowtail in their preserved fish roster, simply they practice a pretty commendable job of tracking how information technology’s farmed. Seafood Spotter says indoor-raised yellowtail (with wastewater management) is best, but you don’t really discover that in cans (probably because it ends up at sushi restaurants instead). Wild Planet’s yellowtail is at least rod and reel-caught, rather than gill-netted or raised in open pens (a method that often causes intermingling with wild fish, which can be a dangerous game).

The bottom line with Wild Planet, though, is that if you’re set on eating only wild-defenseless seafood, information technology’southward an easy, all-around good option. While the prices may not exist the cheapest, they’re far from the most expensive.

Shop Wild Planet canned seafood at iHerb

Shop Wild Planet canned seafood in bulk at Amazon

Safe Catch’s testing standards are the near rigorous in the game, which is why they’re our top recommended brand for canned tuna.


Safe Take hold of/Facebook

Safe Catch Canned Wild Ahi Tuna

EWG rating: ane.five-ten (even though every fish is tested, in that location’s still mercury in albacore)

While tuna salad sandwiches may not be every bit ubiquitous as they once were, tuna is the canned fish Americans are most familiar with. What you might not realize is that there are xv species of tuna in the world, and while you’ll only run into a fraction of them on offer in your local grocery store, it’s of import to know which varieties are the healthiest and most responsibly caught.

Safety Catch tests every single fish they procedure for mercury, making their tuna exceptionally low-run a risk. Mercury, a heavy-metallic toxin, is one that bioaccumulates, or piles up from species to species. So while you don’t really have to worry about mercury levels in sardines or anchovies, information technology’s something y’all may want to consider when consuming larger fish —especially pelagic species, or fish that live neither close to the bottom of a body of water nor about the shore — like tuna, swordfish, shark, marlin, and king mackerel.

Co-ordinate to Safe Take hold of, one out of every iii fish it reels in has mercury levels higher than what the FDA recommends, and therefore doesn’t brand the cut. In outcome, it’due south the safest canned tuna nosotros know of, particularly for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children. The brand promises that its tuna contain no more than than .one parts per 1000000.

It’southward worth repeating that well-nigh canned seafood brands place their focus on either the health of the oceans or the health of the consumer and rarely, if ever, both. Rubber Grab doesn’t always follow the best fishing practices (“dolphin-safe” doesn’t actually hateful anything), only the make’due south albacore is from the Pacific Northwest of the United States and is pole and line-caught, which is the most sustainable way to harvest tuna. And while Safe Catch gets a pretty bad score for its tuna — five-7 with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) — we disagree with the organization’south ratings, which do non acknowledge the brand’s mercury-testing process.

Safe Catch also offers excellent sockeye and pinkish salmon (an easy replacement for chunk-light albacore tuna meat), as well equally sardines — all of which happen to have some of the EWG’southward best ratings (1.5-ii.iv). Salmon is the most responsible of the larger body of water-habitation species available in a tin, and in that location are a few reasons for this, according to seafood guru Paul Greenberg, author of
Four Fish,
American Catch, and
The Omega Principle:
First, we know (roughly) how many salmon there are in the wild, while we’ll probably never exist able to get an accurate count on tuna. Second, salmon eat smaller fish, and therefore accumulate fewer toxins than tuna (specifically mercury). And third, salmon fishing isn’t near as damaging to the marine environment as tuna angling.

Store Safety Catch at Thrive Market

Shop Safe Catch in majority at Amazon

Herring and sardines from Crown Prince aren’t but some of the all-time-tasting preserved finfish you lot can eat — they’re amid the cheapest, besides.


Crown Prince/Facebook

Crown Prince Smoked Oysters

EWG rating: 2-9

Aye, canned (and jarred) seafood can go very, very expensive (ever heard of caviar?). While tuna and salmon shouldn’t be skimped on — unless yous want to chance consuming fish with high (or at least unchecked) mercury levels or purchasing something questionably processed  — you tin can oft find quality sardines and herring at affordable prices. Since the bycatch and environmental costs of harvesting these smaller species are relatively depression, stricter standards and more expensive take hold of methods don’t have to be employed.

Crown Prince is best known for its sardines and kippers, or herring. The make offers other species, but while Crown Prince does report working within the sustainability parameters set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), also as Friend of the Sea, we detect their catch methods surrounding larger fish to be questionable. For example, if you have a modicum of business concern for the oceans’ preservation or workers’ rights, y’all may want to consider avoiding pelagic fish, such equally tuna, from anywhere only the The states, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Scout system. (Crown Prince’s yellowfin and skipjack tuna come up from the Maldives, and its albacore is defenseless in Thailand, where human rights violations in fisheries go on to abound despite relatively harsh sanctions from the U.s.).

We should note that while you can easily spend upwards of 10 bucks on a can of luxury-brand sardines, higher prices don’t necessarily ensure meliorate quality or stricter ecology safety standards. You should, however, be on the spotter for loftier sodium levels, particularly in anchovies, which are drenched in salt (white anchovies are the exception, just they’re often pricier).

If yous’re trying to cut dorsum on sodium, go for the stuff packed in water rather than oil and avoid salt-rich seasonings (dressing canned fish yourself is almost e’er healthier). Crown Prince’s EWG ratings range from two.0 to two.6, which is on the higher terminate in regards to your health, merely, again, nosotros think they fall short when it comes to fair practices and environmental impact.

Some other adept affordable option across the board is King Oscar. The make’s preserved fish tends to have higher sodium levels (17% of the recommended daily value versus Crown Prince’southward 10%), merely that’s about the only difference nosotros tin discern, apart from specific products that are labeled “organic” and “non-GMO project verified.”

At that place also might be BPA finish on King Oscar’s cans (to help prevent botulism), but, as the FDA explains, Bisphenol A doesn’t pose the same risk here every bit information technology does when it’due south blanket your water bottle.

Shop Crown Prince at Thrive Market place

Shop Crown Prince in bulk at Amazon

There’due south no shortage of good, responsible purveyors of high-quality, ethically sourced canned seafood. Look to your local markets get-go — they need your help now more than ever — but if yous tin can’t manage to find what you desire, Patagonia Provisions is widely available online and offers plenty of variety.

patagonia provisions

Patagonia Provisions

Patagonia Provisions Savory Sofrito Mussels

EWG rating: ii.8-5

Who makes the best gourmet canned seafood? It’s a tossup, and highly subjective, but if you don’t have a local shop that specializes in
we recommend looking to Patagonia Provisions (definitely effort their mussels, a species that is sustainably farmed off Galicia, Espana).

In New York City, we’re lucky plenty to have establishments like Maiden Lane (their online store also has an extensive option), which stocks some of our other favorites: Jose Gourmet, Conservas Cambados (shellfish), Olasagasti (tuna), and Ekone (Washington Country smoked oysters).

When it comes to smaller, more artisanal brands, you’ll want to bank check their practices against the Monterey Bay Aquarium’southward Seafood Sentinel “Seafood A-Z” guide. No matter what species of fish or shellfish you lot’re after, it’southward probably in there, and nether the list you’ll discover the best fishing methods to seek out and support (e.g. pole and line-caught, troll-caught, purse seine-caught, etc.).

Patagonia Provisions is notable for its carefully-handled fish and fillets. When you lot go into these higher-terminate brands, you’ll oftentimes discover that the fish is less fishy (considering it was cleaned and candy with better attending). In many cases, you’ll also find elevation-notch herbs and garnishes, like lemon slices and bay leaves.

Frankly, some of us would be all too happy living off of the array of gourmet bounties from the brands listed beneath. But keep in mind that they are the pricey products of superlatively deft artisans, a fact that becomes obvious when you cleft open a can and peer inside to observe an impressive brandish of meticulously dressed and arranged treats.

Jose Gourmet

Jose Gourmet/Facebook

Jose Gourmet Spiced Octopus in Olive Oil

EWG rating: N/A

Portuguese brand Jose Gourmet is a difficult 1 to miss, cheers to its whimsically illustrated packaging. The brand’s sustainability is a bit difficult to estimate, merely you’re placing a safer bet by sticking to its vast list of smaller species.

While we haven’t tried everything from Jose Gourmet, we suggest starting with the sardines (though the EWG recommends Pacific Sardines over their Atlantic cousins, for lower mercury content), spiced octopus, and mackerel fillets. Information technology’southward all very tasty, but might skew a little salty for some.

Shop Jose Gourmet at Maiden Lane

Shop Jose Gourmet at Caputo’due south Market

Store Jose Gourmet at Amazon

Conservas de Cambados

Maiden Lane

Conservas de Cambados Premium Razor Clams in Alkali

EWG rating: N/A

I have whiled away many an afternoon sitting on the corner exterior of Maiden Lane washing these puppies back with dry white wines.

As advertised, Conservas de Cambados shellfish is refined, meaning there’s no sand or grit in the can. The finfish — I’ve tried the bonito and the anchovies — are immaculately cleaned, too. That’s a very skillful matter, considering sometimes, especially with more cheaply processed fish, odds and ends can end upward in the tin can and impart flavors nigh of us would rather not taste.

Shop Conservas de Cambados at Maiden Lane

Shop Conservas de Cambados at Caputo’s Marketplace



Olasagasti Anchovies a la Basque

EWG rating: N/A

Olasagasti is one of my favorite brands to turn to for anchovies; they’re briny yet make clean as can exist. Anchovies frequently end upwards tasting a bit funky, no thank you to cheap cleaning processes, but Olasagasti doesn’t cutting any corners, and you can tell. Of course, you’ll besides pay for that superior flavour, just this is the gourmet section, afterward all. I don’t turn my nose up at other brands, and I rarely splurge on Olasagasti because it’southward pretty plush, but if y’all’re willing to vanquish out, it’s worth information technology. The Spanish brand has, after all, been in the business since 1929.

Only don’t stop in that location: the brand offers tasty tuna options, likewise (merely know that it doesn’t purport to test for mercury levels).

Shop Olasagasti at Caputo’s Market place

Shop Olasagasti (tuna only) at Amazon



Matiz Octopus in Castilian Olive Oil

EWG rating: 2.4-half-dozen

Spain-based Matiz offers sardines and octopus caught off the Galicia coast (note again, the EWG prefers Pacific Sardines) packed with seasonings like lemon, piri-piri peppers in extra virgin Spanish olive oil, and sunflower oil.

These are a footling pricier than your mid-shelf grocery store sardines, but the higher-quality oil makes a world of difference, and nosotros love all of the brand’southward
when we’re in the mood to splurge.

Store Matiz canned sardines and octopus at Globe Market

Shop Matiz canned sardines at Amazon


Earth Market

Ortiz Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EWG rating: four.v-10 (meet unchecked mercury in “white tuna”)

Ortiz is a piddling more on the affordable side, where the gourmet market is concerned. I buy this brand by the case when I tin (we consume a lot of anchovies in my household).

While the sardines and anchovies are staples for me, when I want poached tuna or mackerel in a jar, which can get ridiculously pricey, this is too where I turn; the fifth-generation make has been in the game since 1891. You’ll detect that these jarred items are much less expensive than another brands’, but as as delectable.

Word to the wise: Stay abroad from “white tuna,” which is what earned the brand the ten (i.e. worst possible EWG rating). It may be just albacore, simply information technology also could exist escolar, a mackerel in truth, which contains a wax ester that can cause digestive troubles known as keriorrhea.

Shop Ortiz at World Market



Bela Skipjack in Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EWG rating: iii-7

If you’re afterward jarred and poached trout or tuna, Bela is an affordable and generally sustainable option. Like most tuna on the market, it’due south not tested for mercury in the way that Safe Catch is, so you might not want to get wild with the stuff. That existence said, Bela specializes in skipjack, which is a smaller brood of tuna, pregnant it’south more environmentally friendly and less mercury-ridden.

Shop Bela Skipjack Tuna and Sardines at Globe Marketplace

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