The Simple Way To Drain Canned Fish Without A Strainer

Cans of tuna, salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are super-convenient sources of protein that have a long shelf life. But draining off the liquid inside with a strainer means adding another item to your washing-up list. Luckily, there's a simple way to drain canned fish without this tool and all you need is a plastic cup.

With cans of fish that have a ring pull, you can simply pull back enough of the lid to create a small outlet for the brine or oil to be poured out neatly without disturbing the fish inside the tin. However, this isn't possible with regular cans of fish that don't have an easy-to-open ring pull. And even if you turn the opened can upside down to decant the brine into the sink, it's tricky to drain it fully without getting messy hands.

An easy way to drain canned fish without a strainer is to use a small plastic cup, which has a base that can fit within the circumference of the tin. For this trick you'll also need to use a can opener that cuts around the inner periphery of the lid rather than a modern safety version that smoothly cuts below the exterior rim. An older-style can opener will create a circular canal around the inner edge of the can for the liquid to escape through. If your can opener is dirty, clean the blade using wax paper, for a smoother cut.

How to drain canned fish with a plastic cup

Once you've opened your can, the lid should drop down into the tin so it's sitting directly on top of the protein inside. Leave the lid exactly where it is and put the entire can in the sink. Then place the base of your plastic cup on top and flip the whole thing over so the open side of the cup is now resting in the basin. Gravity will instantly force out some of the brine or oil in the tin. Finally, press the bottom of the can to push out as much liquid as possible before lifting it off and discarding the lid. You should be left with a well-drained can of fish, a spotless counter, and clean hands.

Another trick to drain canned fish is to make two small punctures in the can at opposite ends, turn it sideways over the sink, and allow the liquid to drain through one of the piercings. The second piercing lends the can some give, making it easier to press down on the surface of the lid; a little pressure will encourage more liquid to drip out. Then you can use your drained tuna or salmon as the delicious protein element in your favorite pasta recipe or simply mix it with mayo to make a simple sandwich filling.