Fish canned in oil freezing?

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quazi
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Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by quazi » Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:00 pm

I started eating mackerel that is canned in oil instead of water. This has me wondering, if something is canned in oil will it be vulnerable to expanding and breaking the seal when frozen like normal canned food? I know most things contract when freezing and water is abnormal.

I'm also not sure if there is still enough water in the can in addition to the oil to cause problems?

Does the oil in canned food ever go rancid, or is is stable pretty much indefinitely?

This would make a pretty big difference in where I could store the canned mackerel. Of course stable, cool temperatures are going to be preferred and where I am going to store most of my cans. This would just open up doing things like putting some cans in a cache that is in a relative's unheated garage (with their permission of course).

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Re: Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by 12_Gauge_Chimp » Tue Jun 01, 2021 7:08 pm

I've seen folks canning stuff in oil on TV shows like "Life Below Zero" and "Port Protection Alaska" and I'm curious about thos as well.

I think it may depend on what kind of oil the fish or whatever is canned in. I've never canned anything, so I'm pretty much just going by what I've seen on TV, which is probably not a good thing.
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Re: Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by Zed Hunter » Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:09 am

Oil contracts upon solidifying. Going rancid involves O2 reacting with the oil. Sealed containers prevent this.

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Re: Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by raptor2 » Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:50 am

There are all kinds of vegetable oils but as noted above most do not freeze per se in that ice crystals do not form in them but rather they become more viscous to point that it acts like a solid and will not flow. It is the formation of these crystals into an open hexagonal form that causes expansion.


https://foodsguy.com/freeze-vegetable-o ... 0as%20well.

https://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/lis ... l-freezing
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Re: Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by manacheck » Wed Jun 02, 2021 1:35 pm

I had the same thought as you a few years back. I learned through discovery most tins of fish canned "in oil" these days are not in pure/only oil; it's more and more common to see "canned in oil" actually be canned in water or broth, but with a bit of oil added so that "in oil" can still be claimed.

I wouldn't trust cans to be safely sealed after freezing even if the label states "in pure oil", even if "pure oil" clearly intends to mean "no water, only oil" rather than "water, to which unadulterated oil is added"- especially any canned within this year or the year and a half before. The laws regardling disclaiming what is in food products and what may be substituted without disclaiming the changes, are currently lawfully much more lax, due to disruptions in the supply chain (and the issues that have come with that.) It would be easy to argue that water does not need to be labelled as an ingredient, and that "pure oil" would not be a falsehood if there is still some quantity of oil in the product, and the main focus of the product is the fish. You could even argue that fish, being injected with significant extra brine before canning, while canned "in oil" so that the quantity of oil to brine is more water-based than oil, would not technically be an untruth to state, "canned in pure oil", as the fluids would technically be coming from the tissue of the fish (though it was added into the fish after harvesting the fish) and so the medium the fish was canned in could still be "pure oil."
Any canned fish with other ingredients like vegetables will also increase water content (carrot, onion, or hot pepper being examples.)

My best advice is that, while oil won't expand when exposed to freezing temperatures like water does when water freezes (and the only issue with freezing here is the breaking of a can's seal), it should be okay, theoretically (as long as there's not enough water in the fish to cause seal breakage upon freezing).... But it would be a very good idea to test it out yourself under controlled circumstances using your freezer in advance, especially if you're relying on the fish remaining safely sealed after being frozen and thawed as part of your preps.

Edit to also mention... it's not just the oil going rancid that is a concern if seals are broken. Food items sealed in oil can create issues with botulism, which is not noticeable by smell/taste (unlike with rancid odor/taste which is hard to miss.)
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Re: Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by Confucius » Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:36 pm

Give it a try, toss a couple tins in the freezer and go through a few freeze thaw cycles. The only risk from freezing is breaking the seal, which will become manifestly apparent after a few days at room temperature. Botulism is an anaerobic bacteria, and the fish will spoil from aerobic bacteria if the seal is broken long before botulism from properly canned fish could ever rear its head.

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Re: Fish canned in oil freezing?

Post by quazi » Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:40 pm

Not a bad idea to test it. Freezer space is pretty tight right now, I'll probably wait until it's well below zero and then take some cans from different cases in and out for a few days. That seems like it should be a pretty good stress test. Then make some yummy soup at the end!

I guess I'll need to research doing some of my own pressure canning in oil. If it can be done safely it might be a good way to preserve some stuff to take out to some of the more remote BOLs.

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