Are Blackfin Tuna Good To Eat? They’re Excellent!

You’ve probably already tried a few varieties of tuna, whether from a sushi restaurant, from a can, or fresh from the day’s catch, but did you know there are 15 species of tuna?

Most of the tuna canned in the USA is either skipjack tuna or albacore tuna…

But what about their smaller cousin, the blackfin tuna? Are Blackfin tuna good to eat and how do they compare to the other common species?

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Can You Eat Blackfin Tuna?

Blackfin tuna is delicious! Avid Fishermen in Florida can attest to the tastiness of this fish. They are one of the smaller tuna species, though still pretty sizeable, and grow to around 15 lbs and 30 inches in length.

Blackfin tuna travel long distances, so their meat is firm and low-fat, making them great for sushi or tuna steaks. 

They might not reach the massive size of a bluefin, but catching a blackfin tuna should be plenty of food to feed the family. 

How Does Blackfin Tuna Taste?

When prepared correctly, blackfin tuna tastes pretty similar to yellowfin tuna. It can be a bit fishier and gamier but is still delicious. It is also less fatty than yellowfin or bluefin tuna.

Are Blackfin Tuna Good To Eat? They're Excellent!

Blackfin tuna meat is firm, with a light reddish color. It is typically a bit lighter than yellowfin tuna but darker than skipjack or albacore tuna. 

Proper Preparation is Key

As with most larger fish, it is important for the fish to be bled immediately when caught to improve the flavor, especially if you plan to eat it raw. 

You’ll want to brain spike the fish to kill it quickly, and cut one of the main arteries so it bleeds out fully.

While bleeding let it rest in an icy bath of salt water. Let it sit in the icy brine for at least 3 hours.

Killing the fish quickly and bleeding it out immediately will significantly improve the flavor of the meat.

If you don’t bleed the tuna right away, the meat can taste gamey and extra fishy.

Word of Warning: Heavy Metal Content

As a relatively large saltwater fish, blackfin tuna does contain trace amounts of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. Blackfin tuna is safe to eat, but you should avoid eating it regularly. A couple of times a month is probably a good sweet spot to avoid feeling any health effects from the aforementioned heavy metals.

Blackfin tuna contains more mercury per unit of meat than many other species of fish.

In one study, approximately 81% of the blackfin tuna analyzed contained mercury levels equal to or greater than the 0.5 ppm threshold recommended by the Department of Health. The mean ppm of mercury in blackfins in the study was 1.07 ppm.

As with other mercury-containing fish, you should limit consumption or avoid eating blackfin tuna if you are sensitive to mercury exposure or have been advised against eating certain fish by your doctor.

Some sensitive populations include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • Children
  • People allergic to mercury
  • People with impaired kidney function

Blackfin Tuna Nutrition

Heavy metal content aside, blackfin tuna is super nutritious.

Exact nutritional information is hard to come by, but generally, blackfin tuna is very high in protein and very low in fat, with basically zero carbohydrates.

One gram of blackfin tuna contains roughly one kcal of energy. Blackfin tuna is also an excellent source of micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B6, selenium, potassium, magnesium, and many more. 

How to Prepare Blackfin Tuna

Blackfin tuna can be prepared in a variety of ways, or eaten raw.

It also makes for an excellent tuna steak, especially when cooked more on the raw-rare side. A quick sear and some soy sauce is all you need! 

It can be grilled, fried, or baked. It can be used for sushi, ahi, ceviche, fish tacos, tuna nachos, or tuna salad. The robust fishy flavor of the meat makes it very versatile. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it. 

Common Flavor Pairings

The common flavor pairings for blackfin tuna are similar to other species of tuna like bluefin or yellowfin.

Some tasty side dish options for a tuna steak might be something like roasted lemon potatoes, a simple salad with vinaigrette dressing, or teriyaki vegetables.

If you don’t feel like experimenting, some spices or flavor pairings that work well with blackfin tuna are things like:

  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Chives or scallions
  • Dijon mustard
  • Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Dill
  • Ginger
  • Of course, mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper 

Final Thoughts

Blackfin tuna is a delicious and nutritious fish found in the warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean, especially around Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Blackfin tuna is good to eat, but you should eat it in moderation to avoid building up high levels of heavy metals like mercury.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or sensitive to mercury, you should avoid or limit your consumption of blackfin tuna.

If you catch a blackfin tuna, remember to bleed immediately and let it rest in an icy brine for at least 3 hours to improve the flavor.

Then serve it up raw in sushi, as a tuna steak, or in a tuna salad. 

Thanks for reading!

See Also: Are Blue Marlin Good To Eat?

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