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Taste test: water-packed tuna

Tuna is one of those pantry staples that has so much versatility it's almost foolish not to have a supply on hand. We use it in sandwiches, atop salads and in our hurricane kits, thanks to the long shelf life of tuna cans or pouches. Many tuna manufacturers also produce seasoned tunas blended with everything from lemon pepper to hickory smoked flavors, designed to go from the shelf to the lunch box with no fuss. For our sampling, we tasted eight brands of white or albacore tuna packed simply in water.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Gefen 87Wild Selections 82StarKist 62
Judges'

comments
This kosher tuna was the judges' top pick for its large chunks and plentiful flakes. "This would be a good base to add mayo and mustard and a half teaspoon of EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)," said one panelist. Another approved of the smooth texture, saying, "It's got great flavor and none of that oily mess like some of the other canned tunas. It would mix well with a little Tabasco sauce on a Triscuit." One judge said the tuna is "exactly how naked tuna should taste: slightly salty and mildly fishy." She said, "I would add mayo, lemon juice and chopped sweet gherkins — oh, yes!"Bold flavor put this tuna on the favorites list. "Yummy. I am taking this home and making my famous tuna melt," said one judge. "These fish were obviously swimming happily." Another said, "It's very solid white and a tad bit salty." Panelists also said the fish had lots of body. "It would be great in a tuna casserole," said one. "It might be from a pouch but it looks like big flakes of fresh fish."One reason the judges enjoyed this brand of tuna is the lack of fishy flavor. "It almost tastes like chicken," said one panelist. "It has a nice melt-in-your-mouth texture and it's very moist," said another. "It would be good with mayo or other dressings." Only one said he would not buy this brand because it was too mushy for his liking. "It's like Spam from the sea," he said.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.49 for a 6-ounce can from Publix.$3.69 for a 3-ounce pouch from Publix.$1.24 for a 2.6-ounce pouch from Walmart.


Also Sampled: Great Value ($2 for a 6.4-ounce pouch from Walmart, 37 points); Bumble Bee ($2.54 for a 5-ounce pouch from Walmart, 52 points); Chicken of the Sea ($2.49 for a 5-ounce pouch from Winn-Dixie, 45 points); Market Pantry ($1.59 for a 2.6-ounce pouch from Target, 46 points); and Trader Joe's ($1.69 for a 5-ounce can, 55 points).

Panelists: Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Nan Jensen, registered dietitian. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeTwo ouncesThree ouncesOne pouch
Calories7013070
Fat/Fiber1g / 0g5g / 0g.5g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 220mg0g / 230mg0g / 300mg
Carbs/Protein0g / 15g0g / 20g0g / 17g

Taste test: water-packed tuna 04/25/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2016 12:40pm]
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