Market Forms of Albacore Tuna
Each albacore is caught by hook and line, landed by hand, and transferred to ice for the fresh market or to an on-board freezer. In both cases the fish is preserved in as fresh a state as possible.
The time from the ocean to the ice or freezer isn’t more than a few minutes.
Troll-Caught Albacore is available year-round. Fresh market forms can be purchased during the summer/early fall months (late June through October) when the annual harvest along the Oregon coast occurs. Frozen market forms are available throughout the year.
Whole (round) fish: size range: 9 – 25 lbs (4.1 – 11.3 kg)
Fresh: Typically bled; held on ice and landed within a few days of harvest.
Brine frozen (at sea): Brine has two main sub categories. Unbled generally goes into the export market as cannery grade, bled brine may go into export or domestic markets.
Blast/air frozen (at sea): Blast is bled at sea and is used predominantly for value added and sashimi-grade products like loins, steaks and custom canning.
Loins: long, wedge-shaped portion, hand or machine-cut lengthwise from the whole fish; trimmed of all dark meat; usually sold skinless; vacuum packed. Size: .75 – 2.5 lbs.
Steaks or medallions: Cross cut sections of the loin; trimmed and skinless; vacuum packed. Random sizes
Custom Canned: Hand packed chunked meat from high quality albacore are put into cans or pouches in a variety of sizes – 3.5 oz. to 4 lb (99g to 1.8 kg), where they’re cooked just once in their own natural juices, sealing in all the flavorful juices and nutrients.
Quality Specifications: Fresh whole fish should be free of bruises, soft spots and tears in the skin. There should be no unpleasant odor. Frozen fish should be uniformly hard, with rounded bodies absent of flat spots/indentations. Evidence of “bleeding” such as a cut in the gill plate/throat latch area should be apparent on whole fish. Properly bled fish will produce a lighter-colored, milder tasting loin. Cut products should be moist, free of strong odor and show no signs of browning around the edges, a sign of rancidity.
Thawing & Product Handling: As with all seafood, thawing should be done slowly, under refrigeration. Frozen round fish cut better when the flesh is still firm. Fresh product should be stored at 32oF; frozen at 0oF or below.