Squeezing water out of canned fish
June 6, 2005 2:59 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to squeeze water out of a can of fish (i.e. tuna or salmon)? I've tried removing the lid and pressing it down hard into the can, but then it tends to get stuck, and I end up spending the next several minutes trying to dig it out with a knife. Thanks to everyone in advance.
posted by invisible ink to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Open the lid *completely* with a can opener, 360 degrees around so that it can flop down into the can. Then invert the can and press the lid even farther into the tuna or salmon, squeezing the water out. Then turn the can right-side up again and push down on one side of the lid. The other side will pop upwards and you can pick the lid out. Dig out the fish with a fork.
posted by mono blanco at 3:06 AM on June 6, 2005

I open the tin completely and strain it, but through a paper towel to stop the fishy bits from clogging up the sink.

I lay the paper in the sieve/colander in the sink, dump the fish, as whole as possible, onto the paper, and then I wring the water out of it with my hand and put it straight into its bowl/pan/dish. Then I lift the paper out of the sieve, gently squeeze the excess water out of it, and put it into the empty tin and then into the rubbish.

One more item to wash (the colander) but no fish in the sink.
posted by suleikacasilda at 3:45 AM on June 6, 2005

I usually press down on the opened lid with a soup can. This keeps the pressure even and prevents the top form bending. When it's time to remove, I tilt the can and the lid pivots up.

Of course, since the advent of the tuna foil packets, I need to do this less and less.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:52 AM on June 6, 2005

Slightly tangential: I second Robocop's mention of the foil packets; they might seem more expensive than the canned stuff when you check the per-ounce price on the shelf, but they actually aren't--a six-ounce can only has 3 or 4 ounces of fish in it (the rest is water) while the 7 ounce pouch is all fishy goodness.
posted by bcwinters at 5:20 AM on June 6, 2005

They have cheapie little plastic strainer things that are specifically for this. Push down on the can on top of this thing in the kitchen sink, toss strainer in the dishwasher. Simple.
posted by jessamyn at 5:29 AM on June 6, 2005

Judging from what people wrote so far a lot of you squeeze the tuna dry, is that correct? Personally I open the lid, turn in upside down and press gently to get the bulk of the water out, but I like my tuna to be a bit moist. Which is the better/proper method?
posted by furtive at 5:45 AM on June 6, 2005

Aside from the purposefully-invented strainers* mentioned by jessamyn, you can buy a flat plastic sink strainer, meant to cover a garbage disposal opening. They are exactly the right size to fit in a tuna can. I use a metal mesh strainer in my actual sink, and used to use a plastic one for the tuna cans before my wife went all out on the bagged variety. The cheap plastic sink strainers might be easier to find in many places than the tuna-specific ones for draining cans.

*Another in a long line of items which I actually thought of, but failed to market - damn me. First the solar-powered flashlight, then the inflatable pole-less tent, and now the plastic tuna strainer. Why do I think of these things years before I ever see them on the market, and yet never think it's a good enough idea to actually try and produce myself?
posted by caution live frogs at 6:08 AM on June 6, 2005

furtive wrote:
Which is the better/proper method?

It depends on what the tuna will become. If you're just going to eat it straight out of the can, of course leave a little bit of moisture. Personally, about the only time I use tuna is to make "Chris's Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Tuna Salad" which calls for squeezing the tuna dry, then replacing lost moisture with mayonaise.

Would post the recipe, but Remote Desktop to home isn't working at the moment.
posted by chota at 6:12 AM on June 6, 2005

Metafilter: no fish in the sink.
posted by mendel at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2005

I, too, press down on the fully opened lid. But I use a magnet to pull the lid out.
posted by sgarst at 8:25 AM on June 6, 2005

Hmm... neat! I never knew that you were supposed to squeeze the water out of canned tuna. I've tried canned tuna a few times and always hated it and wondered how people could like that watery paste.
posted by substrate at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2005

When I worked for a health food restaurant, we did it by hand: open up the big can of tuna & scoop it out & sqeeeeeze it in your fist until it's very dry. This method is gross, yes, and it's a pain, gets fish in the sink & makes your hands smell, but I think it makes the best tuna salad. The trick is getting almost all the moisture out of the fish & then, as chota said, replacing it with mayo. Or, if you're making salmon cakes, beaten eggs etc.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:38 PM on June 6, 2005

Several minutes? It usually takes me about 3 seconds to pry the lid out with a knife.

And to those who use the squeeze-in-fist method, or if you just hate getting a stinky thumb from the standard squeezing method: Washing your hands with soap, then rubbing the fishy fingers with a piece of stainless steel (a spoon, for example) will quickly deodorize the tainted skin.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:23 PM on June 6, 2005

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