Freezer Burnt Tuna?

So this week my wife and kids are off on a spring break vacation with their cousins while I stay home and work! It’s kind of quiet around here, but I am getting a lot of other projects done. On Saturday, I thought I would clean out the freezer to free up some space. So I dug deep, right past maybe 10 lbs of frozen bananas (time to make more banana bread!) right to the bottom…. What I found was a large stash of Albacore tuna from an awesome fishing trip in 2003! Image

I remember the trip well… We left Shelter Island in San Diego in the middle of the night, had a few micro-brews and headed southwest. As soon as the sky lightened we started trolling and it wasn’t long before our first fish. Before that first fish was in the boat everyone else was also hooked up, so it was a real struggle to bring the fish over the side as there was usually no one free to gaff the fish! But as soon as you could get your fishing line back into the water it was instantly picked up by another tuna! I am sure I will never be on a fishing trip like that again – it was the trip of a lifetime. After that one stop, we headed back – and even though we had a few more opportunities to pick up more fish we kept going. BTW, in the picture I am on the right while my brother Don is on the left.

All the tuna was vacuum sealed and frozen, but that was in 2003! After 11 years even properly sealed meat will freezer burn, and the package I held was definitely freezer burnt and looked awful. I almost threw it away, but I dropped it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.  On Sunday it was time to see if there was any hope. I admit that I didn’t have much hope…. I set this chunk of tuna out on the cutting board and sliced 1/2 inch off of the end. Wow! I was amazed at how good the meat looked! I trimmed up all sides and then sliced what was left into  1 1/2″ slices. I gave the trimmings to our chickens who ate them up as if it was candy!


I dusted the fish with black pepper and sesame seeds and seared it in a cast iron skillet for 4 minutes a side. It was very red inside, but you don’t want to overcook tuna…


I topped it with a ginger-teriyaki sauce and wasabi and it was amazing!


Leaving fish in the freezer that long is not a good thing, but I would suggest taking a look before just tossing it!



About CastIronDan

I'm a married father of three from Apple Valley, CA that enjoys Cooking, Roasting Coffee and HomeBrewing.
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8 Responses to Freezer Burnt Tuna?

  1. Andy says:

    Dan that looks like it was an awesome trip! Fishing pictures rock. I really want to fish in Southern California sometime. So far, I’ve found meat lasts a long time—years in the freezer. The biggest problem I have is that the cheap little seal a meals I’ve used just plain lose their vacuum after I’ve tossed food around in the freezer. I’ve never eaten fish that old, but I’ve had some venison that’s several years old. Cool post.

  2. For you frozen bananas…if you have access to coconut WATER (not milk or cream) you can blend the frozen bananas and water into an amazing drink. One frozen banana to just over a cup of coconut water…leg me know what you think!

  3. PS well done on the tuna 🙂

  4. CastIronDan says:

    Thank you… I will try that!

  5. gretchenwing says:

    Totally salivating now…thanks for the tips! I never like to give up on food. 🙂

  6. calichechic says:

    Thanks for the blog. Maybe I’ll pull out the yellow fin I caught last summer and give your recipe a try. I almost fed my tuna to the dogs. I have to do something with it. We go fishing again this fall.

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