5

votes

Isn't the water in canned fish technically bone broth?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 02, 2012 at 12:04 PM

I was hit with this idea while eating some of my canned salmon today. I usually open the can and pour out the water in order to eat the fish.

Now that I think about it if this is the same water the fish was cooked in and it contains bones (mine does) wouldn't the nutrients both in the bones and the fish have leached into the water I am discarding?

Does this make the water essentially bone broth and better to drink/eat then throw out?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on June 29, 2013
at 10:11 PM

I recently learned that not all fish is either wildcaught or farmed. There is a third option: from a hatchery. A lot of the Bumblebee salmon is from a hatchery, which I *think* means that they breed the fish, but release it into a river to live its life, and then catch it. Anyway, yes, don't buy the tuna in vegetable broth. But I'm pretty sure the rest, where the fish is the only ingredient, the liquid is like broth from the flesh and bones.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on May 07, 2012
at 07:29 PM

@Erik Cisler: thanks for pointing that out--I hadn't scrolled down far enough to see the expanded description that mentioned the BPA-free cans. I will edit my response to reflect this.

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:02 PM

From http://www.wildplanetfoods.com/store/products/wild-skipjack-light-tuna.html: "Wild Planet skipjack light tuna is hand packed raw into BPA free cans without added oil, water or fillers and cooked once to retain the Omega 3-rich natural juices. "

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 03, 2012
at 10:53 AM

The crazy thing is, the *front* of the label will say "in water," but if you look at the actual list of ingredients, it'll say vegetable broth. Not all of them have soy, but some do, and by law they have to specify, so take a look. (I think they say "in water" to differentiate it from the ones in oil, but it's not purely water.) As for the wild-caught vs. farmed, I'm not sure. I would just go with a brand you trust to tell you the truth. (Vital Choice is an excellent brand with a stellar reputation. They're $$$, but there's a reason their stuff is more expensive. It's the real deal.)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Hrm, I've never seen any canned fish in vegetable broth, even el-cheapo store brand stuff. Also you use the phrase 'genuinely wild-caught' do you think there's farmed stuff getting labeled as 'wild-caught'? Evidence of such?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:16 PM

I'd say most cans of salmon on the shelf have been "cooking" at room temperature for weeks probably.

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on May 02, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Curious why this got down voted. Seems pretty uncontroversial.

345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on May 02, 2012
at 01:55 PM

I would think that tossing is better unless its a BPA free can and no added perservatives, this is a canned product with a long shelf life so I'd think it has things in it you'd want to avoid...probably does have some 'broth' quality but thats not all....

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 02, 2012
at 12:06 PM

not sure on that one. I toss the water in my canned sardines though occasionally when I buy the ones packed with olive oil I'll shoot that. More to just gross out whoever I'm lunching with but.

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8 Answers

7
D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on May 02, 2012
at 01:12 PM

Some of it is, and some of it isn't. There are several fish brands that advertise their tuna as packaged in "natural spring water." I believe the big ones (i.e. bumble bee, starkist, etc) do this. Then there are some, like Wild Planet, where they are canning only tuna meat and the water is a broth that leaks out of the fish and you're right, it is analogous to bone broth. Either way, if the can is BPA-free I'm sure the water is chock full of nutrients and is fine to consume.

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on May 02, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Curious why this got down voted. Seems pretty uncontroversial.

2
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 02, 2012
at 02:34 PM

I think most of the water canned fish comes in is probably closer to "salted water" than a traditional bone broth. Of course, you still want to EAT the bones for sure, but as for sucking down all the water? Not so sure. I think you probably get more of the EFAs that may have leached out into the water but not so much on the minerals from the bones. (With canned salmon and sardines, you can see the water looks a little fatty.)

One thing I do want to point out is to read your labels. Most of the more expensive, genuinely wild-caught seafood in cans is packed in just water and salt, but most of the commercial brands are packed in "vegetable broth," and that usually means SOY. (If you read the label on Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea, for example, most of them say "Contains soy.") Very obnoxious how they sneak it into everything.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 03, 2012
at 10:53 AM

The crazy thing is, the *front* of the label will say "in water," but if you look at the actual list of ingredients, it'll say vegetable broth. Not all of them have soy, but some do, and by law they have to specify, so take a look. (I think they say "in water" to differentiate it from the ones in oil, but it's not purely water.) As for the wild-caught vs. farmed, I'm not sure. I would just go with a brand you trust to tell you the truth. (Vital Choice is an excellent brand with a stellar reputation. They're $$$, but there's a reason their stuff is more expensive. It's the real deal.)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 02, 2012
at 05:02 PM

Hrm, I've never seen any canned fish in vegetable broth, even el-cheapo store brand stuff. Also you use the phrase 'genuinely wild-caught' do you think there's farmed stuff getting labeled as 'wild-caught'? Evidence of such?

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on June 29, 2013
at 10:11 PM

I recently learned that not all fish is either wildcaught or farmed. There is a third option: from a hatchery. A lot of the Bumblebee salmon is from a hatchery, which I *think* means that they breed the fish, but release it into a river to live its life, and then catch it. Anyway, yes, don't buy the tuna in vegetable broth. But I'm pretty sure the rest, where the fish is the only ingredient, the liquid is like broth from the flesh and bones.

2
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on May 02, 2012
at 12:12 PM

I'm pretty sure this is not the case.

I've seen clams "in their own juice" and salmon "in broth", but I believe fish "in water" is purified and then added to the cooked fish, in most cases. Similarly to olive oil which fish may be canned with, but not cooked in.

1
7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

on May 07, 2012
at 04:07 PM

Before I went Paleo, and starting making home made bone broth, I was usually grossed out by what I used to call: Gefilte slime (the gelatinous stuff in a jar of Gefilte fish):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gefilte_fish

Now that I'm more schooled on bone broth, that actually seems like broth (because it gels).

Right?

Mike

1
2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on May 02, 2012
at 02:12 PM

Most "bone broth" is cooked very long and slow. The long slow cooking process leaches nutrients out from the bones as well as from connective tissues, cartilage, etc. I don't think cooking liquid is enough. Real nutrient dense broths cook for up to or more than 24 hours.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on May 02, 2012
at 03:16 PM

I'd say most cans of salmon on the shelf have been "cooking" at room temperature for weeks probably.

0
99e07ac231e83a4705d866c7269e9282

on May 24, 2012
at 01:57 AM

You have to look at the ingredients. I have yet to find a brand of "tuna packed in water" in our town that doesn't list "vegetable broth" and "soy" in it's ingredients. BTW, I was checking the ingredients in various flavoured tea bags at the store the other day to make sure it didn't contain artificial colors/flavors, and was surprised to find that most all of them contain soy (it hadn't dawned on me that I would need to look for soy). But an even a bigger shock was that more than a few of them listed fish in the ingredients! Now why on earth would tea need to contain either soy or fish??

0
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on May 07, 2012
at 03:20 PM

In the case of canned fish, the bones are usually so softened that you can simply eat them or stir them into whatever you're making with the fish and barely notice them. Eating the whole bones must provide even more full of the goodies from bones than whatever leaches out in the canning liquid.

A previous response noted Wild Planet, which doesn't even add water to most of their tuna. This is a brand I'm really starting to prefer. The fact that the tuna is cooked in the can during the process that preserves it, rather than being pre-cooked, then cooked again during preservation, really does seem to result in much better flavor and texture. Open one of these cans, and you find barely any liquid--and you don't even need to drain it.

But the tuna doesn't have bones, so I doubt the little liquid there is has much to offer, and Wild Planet seems not to make any claims about BPA-free cans--except for the sardines, whose BPA-free status Wild Planet is careful to mention on their website. AND, sardines do have bones that you can/should eat.

So once again, the diminutive but mighty canned sardine seems to rule.

UPDATE: Thanks to a comment below, I re-checked the website and found that Wild Planet indeed uses BPA-free cans. Sorry about that!

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on May 07, 2012
at 07:29 PM

@Erik Cisler: thanks for pointing that out--I hadn't scrolled down far enough to see the expanded description that mentioned the BPA-free cans. I will edit my response to reflect this.

D5cde8031564f905260ce9aa7a1f5e2c

(1170)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:02 PM

From http://www.wildplanetfoods.com/store/products/wild-skipjack-light-tuna.html: "Wild Planet skipjack light tuna is hand packed raw into BPA free cans without added oil, water or fillers and cooked once to retain the Omega 3-rich natural juices. "

-2
D54290f91bd8c2ff9fdf2f519933bf3e

(1231)

on May 24, 2012
at 02:22 AM

no.-------------

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