Can You Substitute Canned Octopus For Fresh?

Open canned octopus
Open canned octopus - etorres/Shutterstock

Canned foods can come in handy, especially when the fresh version is out of season or hard to find. Keeping a variety of canned goods in your pantry also makes it easy to prepare numerous recipes on the fly without having to run to the store. But canned foods aren't always interchangeable with their fresh or frozen counterparts. The cost of fresh octopus might have you wondering if it's okay to substitute it with the canned stuff in a particular recipe. Or, it could just be difficult to find in your area. But as you might expect, the answer isn't as cut and dry as a yes or no. Rather, it depends on how you plan to serve the cephalopod.

What you're making will ultimately determine whether or not the substitution will work. For instance, you might not want to use marinated octopus from a can, a sealed plastic pack, or a jar for dishes like ceviche or aguachile. However, there are preparations where tinned octopus will work just fine.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Considerations For Substituting With Canned Octopus

Octopus and potato salad
Octopus and potato salad - tasha_lyubina/Shutterstock

When deciding if fresh octopus is a must or if it can be substituted for, consider the desired taste and texture. Fresh octopus will have a milder flavor since it's not packed in oil or any seasonings think of it in the same way as tuna. There is plenty of crossover between how you can use both tinned tuna and the fresh kind, but depending on which you choose there is going to be a difference in the texture and flavor that the final dish will reflect. And the same is true with octopus dishes.

Canned octopus will work best in rich tapas, soups (such as paella), and flavor-packed sauces (like bolognese), as well as green, chunky vegetable, and potato salads -- though some people eat it right out of the can with a little bit of lemon juice. Since it's already cooked, the canned kind won't work for grilled octopus or the like. But there is one really good reason to use the canned version in your pasta or salad instead: Fresh octopus tends to get overly chewy and rubbery when done wrong. Since cooking it can be a bit of an art form, the canned kind makes it much easier to work with.

A Few Good Reasons To Stock Up On Canned Octopus

gold seafood tins
gold seafood tins - cunaplus/Shutterstock

Canned seafood is one of the most convenient ways to pack more nutrients into one's diet. And since octopus, in particular, is chock full of important nutrients, it's definitely worth keeping some of the canned stuff on hand. A lean protein, octopus is brimming with over 1,000% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B12. It's also high in selenium, with 139% of the daily recommendation. Additionally, it's got plenty of copper, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Beyond nutrition, canned octopus' versatility might be its best attribute. It's perfect for a quick, near-effortless snack, but it also works well as a component in more complex dishes. While it won't be ideal as a substitution for fresh octopus in every recipe, there are plenty of uses for it to warrant reaching for it in lieu of the fresh kind.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.