The Flavorful Reason You Should Never Throw Away Canned Fish Oil

It's easy to throw the can away after draining out the fish it held, but doing so is a mistake. Aside from the tin itself, what you're also tossing out is all of the flavor-packed fish oil. Sure, you can find tuna and sardines packed in water, but you'll also see cans filled with olive oil, vegetable oil, or sunflower oil — and often with even more ingredients added for flavor, such as hot chili peppers, chickpeas, and sundried tomatoes. All of this results in a liquid that comes already infused with the taste of the fish, as well as extra goodies.

So, instead of tossing out the can, use the leftover oil inside to easily add flavor to other dishes. Think of recipes that already use oil as a primary ingredient, like salad dressing, or ones that let the ingredient shine, like sauteed vegetables. As long as you don't mind adding a little fishy flavor, this infused liquid can easily substitute for your basic olive or avocado oil. Add some chopped herbs and make a dip for fresh bread, drizzle it on a caprese salad, or brush it on the ciabatta slices of your favorite sandwich. If you want to build on the fishiness, you can even pan-fry fish filets in this liquid gold.

How to create tasty flavor combinations with leftover canned fish oil

Tinned fish is expected to be a booming foodie trend in 2024. The beauty of that is the likelihood that more and more creatively flavored versions will continue to pop up — which means more experimenting in the kitchen. Feel free to match (or contrast) the ingredients in your tuna oil with the dish you're making to give it a whole new boost. For instance, you could use a lemon-infused liquid to pan-fry fish, make a dip for bread, or add a subtle tang to a hummus recipe. Tinned fish packed with ginger oil would work well in stir-fry dishes, while a bell pepper or sundried tomato version would be a delicious addition to a veggie sandwich.

Of course, you'll also want to take into consideration the fish itself when choosing how to deploy the leftover oil. While the liquid from a can of tuna can serve as a tasty swirl in soup, for example, you may want to stay away from sardines or anchovies here, which tend to be more potent. On the other hand, the latter fish oils may add just the boost you need in a pot of red sauce. Only you can tell, but with so many options, there's no reason to let this delicious liquid go to waste.