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Tofu is a wonderful meat alternative. You may want to stock up on this healthy and versatile plant-based food but you might be concerned that it won't do well in the freezer. Well, we asked expert cooks regarding this and here's what we got from them.
Tofu freezes very well. If you store it properly, it can last for 4 to 6 months in the freezer. You can be sure that it will retain its flavor and nutrients within that period. Some even note that the tofu's texture is better after being thawed making it the perfect ingredient for nutritious plant-based recipes.
Continue reading because we'll share with you tips from the experts regarding proper storage, thawing, and cooking of your tofu. This way, you'll always have it on hand to prepare your best-loved tofu dishes and serve them to your family and friends.
How long can you freeze tofu?
There are different types of tofu. There are silken, firm, medium, fermented, and shredded, to name a few. The smooth silken type is best used for dressings and sauces. Firm tofu can be cut into smaller sizes to include in your favorite dishes such as Mapo Tofu, tofu scramble, and the simple yet exceedingly delicious crispy garlic, salt, and pepper tofu nuggets.
Any variety of tofu freezes fairly well. Don't expect the silken type to harden though. It will have a soft texture when thawed. Expert cooks love freezing the regular and firm varieties though because they say that magic happens to tofu when frozen.
When stored properly, tofu can stay fresh for 4 to 6 months. Many people testify that firm types of tofu come out even better after being frozen. This is because freezing makes them more porous and therefore ready to absorb and able to soak up all the flavors in your marinade and sauces. Their texture is also chewier, helping them resemble meat much better, making them the perfect healthier alternative for your meats. You can stir fry them, pan-fry, bake, or grill them. Grilled vegetables and tofu kebabs, anyone?
Does frozen tofu go bad?
Some say that unopened tofu that's stored in the freezer can last for months and years. However, it is expected that like most foods, its condition will deteriorate over time. For best quality, consume your frozen tofu within 6 months from the date of storage. Beyond this period, your tofu might still be safe to eat but its texture and flavor might not be the same anymore.
If you're worried about eating expired tofu, check the texture and smell of your thawed tofu. If it is slimy and has a sour smell, it's best to discard it. If it seems off to you, then trust your senses rather than risk having an upset stomach.
How do you keep tofu fresh longer?
It is such a shame to let tofu go to waste with all its nutrients and health benefits. Don't worry because with proper storage, you can keep it fresh longer. That means you can enjoy your tofu stir fry or teriyaki style any time. There are two ways to extend the tofu's shelf life. Store it in the fridge and it'll be good for up to 5 days. For longer shelf life, put it in the freezer where it'll stay fresh for 4 to 6 months.
Here are the proper ways to store your tofu in the fridge and freezer.
Storing tofu in the fridge
- Get a container with a lid and fill it with water.
- Submerge uncooked tofu in the water.
- Cover the container tightly. You can also cover it with plastic wrap.
- Change the water everyday to help keep your tofu fresh.
- Consume within 3 to 5 days.
Storing tofu in the freezer
- Remove tofu from its packaging.
- Drain the water it came with.
- Use a tofu press to remove as much water inside your tofu as possible. Alternatively, you can put paper towel below and above your tofu as you gently squish it to soak up excess water.
- Slice the tofu into cubes. This will make it easier for you to remove the portion that you need for cooking.
- Cover the cubes tightly with plastic wrap.
- Put inside a freezer-safe container.
- Label with the content and date before storing in the freezer.
How do you defrost tofu?
There are 3 safe ways to thaw your frozen tofu so that you can start using it for cooking your favorite tofu dishes such as spicy tofu lettuce wraps and vegan tofu breakfast burritos. You can defrost it in the fridge, cold water, or in the microwave.
Thawing tofu in the fridge
This is the easiest and safest way to defrost your tofu.
- Put your frozen tofu on a plate but do not remove its packaging.
- Place it inside your fridge for 6 to 12 hours.
- Using a knife, insert it inside the tofu to check if it has thawed completely.
Thawing tofu in a bowl of cold water
The length of time needed to thaw your frozen tofu using this method would depend on its size. A block of tofu may need a couple of hours to thaw while cubed tofu slices will defrost faster.
- Fill a bowl with cold water.
- Immerse your tofu in water. Make sure it's inside a sealed bag.
- Change the water every half-hour so that your tofu will defrost evenly.
Thawing tofu in the microwave
This is the quickest way to thaw your tofu.
- Take off the packaging of your tofu.
- Put a paper towel on top of a microwave-safe dish.
- Place at the center of the microwave.
- Defrost for 1 minute then check for doneness by piercing with a knife. It should be able to pass through smoothly.
- Here's a tip: If your microwave doesn't have a defrost setting, use low power instead. If the center table doesn't rotate, make sure you turn the dish every 30 seconds for thorough thawing.
Can I cook frozen tofu?
If you're into crispy tofu nuggets, you'll be happy to hear that you can cook this recipe using frozen tofu. Just put it in a pot of warm water. Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes. This is an important step because it makes tofu firm, plump, and ready to absorb lots of flavors. Once done, put the tofu in a pan and saute lightly.
Use your favorite seasoning and spices to make your crunchy tofu tasty, but if you're using it as an ingredient for other dishes that already have their own sauce, you can go ahead and toss it there and it will soak up all the goodness in there!
It's good to have tofu in your freezer so that you can always prepare healthy and tasty dishes for the whole family. It is a great alternative to meat and will carry all the flavors of your marinades, sauces, and seasonings really well. You'll be thankful that they have a long shelf life in the freezer. They can stay there for 6 months and still offer the same quality that we've all come to love in tofu.