How do we grade tuna?

In our past entries, we have discussed how to differentiate a good fresh tuna from an artificially flavoured one and today we will digress about tuna grading.

Once it is hooked, this tuna undergoes a process of grading according to5 indicators that we will later discuss.

When it comes to tuna, there is more than just canned produce or fresh fish. There are lots of types of the species in the sea and yet we only come across three or four in restaurants or markets: Bluefin, yellowfin, albacore and skipjack.

Just like all premium products, the fresh tuna is prices based on its quality and grade, especially when it is destined to make sushi since the appearance and taste are scrutinised with every single bite.

sashimi tuna chunk

Much like diamonds are classified according to the 3 C’s, tunas are graded based on its appearance. After the head is removed, the collar, scales and fins are visually inspected and evaluated. The inspector then moves to the belly and guts to determine its degree of freshness.

Afterwards, we evaluate the size and shape, since larger portions have more fat and are therefore more valuable than small pieces. Grade A tuna are heavier fish and have a more desirable loin size and the skin should be intact without any traces of puncturing or damages.

Move on to the color. It is well known that all tunas are red, and yet, it is the type of red that will determine the condition of the fish and its quality. A brighter redness means a higher flavour. When it comes to sushi, it is very likely for super bright red and clear pieces to be destined for sashimi, the purest form of raw fish, whereas lighter colors are often turn into poke or other cured recipes.

Concerning the texture, it is ruled by feeling the core and tail cut, and grading the stickiness or pastiness of the piece: the stickier, the better. Finally, the quantity of fat contained in a piece can be a great indicator of the tuna’s quality. Usually the fat is measured on the core, belly, tail and collar and is sometimes visible on the marble, just like the marbling we often see in beef.

Here at Moalia we work with Grade A Tuna collected from sustainable sources and with an excellent traceability, so you can be sure that you have the best fresh fish, from the sea to your kitchen.

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