The Best Place In Your Kitchen To Store Canned Tuna

Whether you're serving up some tuna noodle casserole or mixing up a tuna salad for your next barbecue, keeping cans of tuna on hand can make meal prep a little easier. The pre-cooked fish is ready to eat as-is out of the can, and it's often inexpensive to stock up, so you always have some on hand. While you should always adhere to expiration dates for the highest quality food, some canned tuna brands can stay good for two to five years with proper storage.

Whether you use canned tuna in oil or water, the best place to keep unopened cans of the fish is a pantry or kitchen cabinet. Storage spaces that lack exposure to excessive light and are always kept dry are also essential to keep the food fresh before that can is cracked open. So while it may be easy to forget a lone can of tuna at the back of the cabinet, it's probably the best place to keep it after all (per USDA).

The cans also need to be kept at room temperature, which is generally between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Extra heat could cause the fish to spoil inside the can as it becomes humid. So that means that near the stove is the worst place in your kitchen to store canned tuna. Even exposure to sunlight can be harmful since the prolonged heat will gradually heat the cans.

Improper storage will ruin canned tuna

Although the temperatures on your kitchen countertop may be stable enough to safely store the cans, the exposure could leave them prone to being bumped, dropped on the floor, or dented. When cans are impacted and opened prematurely, bacteria can creep in and spoil the tuna. It is safe to eat from cans with minor imperfections, but they should be thoroughly inspected to make sure the food hasn't been exposed to outside air.

The cans should also be kept away from any place that could expose them to water. If they're kept near the sink, moisture can cause the can to rust or corrode. So while the counter may be sufficient to store cans of tuna in terms of temperature regulation, it may be best to store them somewhere safer to prevent accidental spoilage — from moisture or light.

Once that can is open, however, you'll need to keep the contents nice and cold. When kept in the fridge, canned tuna will be good for up to four days after it's opened. However, it will need to be removed from the metal can since an open can is an invitation for bacteria exposure. Instead, take the tuna out to store it in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to four days.