Tofu is a soy product that has been condensed into solid blocks. It's a highly adaptive product that can be used to add protein to nearly any type of food. It can be stored in your refrigerator for up to ten days or frozen for three months.
Tofu can be refrigerated for up to one week if kept in fresh water. If you don't have time to pull it from the packaging and transfer it to fresh water, it can be frozen in the original packaging.
In deciding how to store tofu, be aware that refrigerated tofu needs to be monitored, so keep it in in a clear dish.
If you prefer to use it fresh, remove it from the plastic and cover it with cool water and keep it sealed. Per food experts at TheKitchn.com, the water should be changed daily.
- If you notice any cloudiness in the water, this can indicated bacterial contamination and the tofu should be discarded.
The consistency of fresh tofu lends itself well to smooth blending. If you want to add a silky consistency to your vegetarian dishes, use fresh tofu instead of frozen.
What Is Tofu Made Of?
Tofu is made from the milk of a particular variety of white soybean, not the edamame from your grocery store. Per vegetarian and vegan food authorities, the beans need to be soaked until hydrated.
Then the beans are crushed for their milk. The warm milk is slowly mixed with Nigari to form curds or clumps. Those clumps are then drained and compressed into blocks of tofu.
SEE ALSO: How Is Tofu Made?
Nigari comes from the Japanese word for "bitterness" (nigai). It's made by boiling seawater in a large kettle until salt crystallizes on the bottom. The reduction process is extreme; from ten cups of seawater, you get one cup of Nigari.
Kameyamado says that toxins in seawater also need to be removed. The manufacturing process at the Kameyamado facility includes dialysis of the reduced seawater by ion exchange, filtering out PCBs and heavy metals.
Does Tofu Have Protein?
While many vegetarian dishes work to combine amino acids for complete proteins, tofu offers a complete protein in a single food.
When comparing tofu side by side with meat, tofu offers less protein per ounce than meat. Meat offers no carbohydrates or fiber, while three ounces of tofu include four grams of carbs and two grams of fiber.
Meat is higher in iron than tofu, and meat-based iron is easier to absorb than plant-based iron. For anyone concerned with fat content or cholesterol levels, tofu offers only unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
Health and wellness experts at LiveStrong.com encourage replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats to reduce risk of chronic disease.
Can Tofu Go Bad?
Fresh tofu, stored in fresh water that's changed daily, can last for ten days in your refrigerator. Don't leave it in the original packaging in the refrigerator for long-term storage.
There are vegan and vegetarian food experts with great concerns about the safety of soybean products in general. Much of the world's soybean crop is grown in the United States, and many of these crops are grown from genetically modified seeds.
Nutrition experts at Authority Nutrition recommend seeking out organic, non-GMO brands.
Can You Freeze Tofu?
Unfrozen tofu has a silky texture and can be sliced. Once it's been frozen, the texture will be chewier and may crumble when thawed.
Tofu will be yellow once it's thawed, instead of white. In the kitchen, it may be best to treat them as two different foods, because they behave very differently!
When deciding whether or not to freeze tofu, it's important to consider what you need it to do in the dish you're preparing. If you're making a creamy dip, use fresh.
If you're making stir fry or a stew with chopped vegetables, previously frozen tofu will work well. Can tofu be frozen? Yes, and to very useful effect!
The easiest process is to freeze tofu in the original packaging. Be aware that tofu comes to the grocery store in its own water, so freezing it in water will cause cracks in the block of tofu once thawed. If you're using it for crumbles, this will be ideal.
You can drain your tofu before freezing. Per Mary Gormandy White of Vegetarian.LoveToKnow.com, unwrap the tofu and lay it on multiple layers of paper towels on a plate.
Cover it with more paper towels, settle another plate on top, and let it drain for thirty minutes. Wrap it in plastic to protect from freezer burn, and freeze for up to three months.
How long does tofu last? Ten days in the refrigerator or three months in the refrigerator. How does tofu taste? Tofu works well with many spices.
If you're interested in reducing your meat intake and want to experiment, add tofu to stir fries, curries and stews.