Tofu, a soy-based protein alternative, has a longer shelf life than most products. But this is only if the tofu is stored properly. This makes tofu a great, inexpensive option when trying to find meat substitutes. However, it’s important to note that tofu will not last indefinitely. While it may last longer than most meat and seafood, it still has a short shelf life that should be noted and tended to. Proper handling and storage techniques are required in order to maximize tofu’s freshness.
Always check the “best by” date when purchasing tofu. It’s usually a stamped date on the packaging. The usual shelf life for tofu will be 2-3 weeks after the purchase date. But once you open it, it should be consumed within the next seven days. If you are unable to eat all the tofu immediately, there a few different ways that you can store tofu. You can keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or you can even freeze it.
Using and Storing Tofu
Once you have purchased the tofu, be sure to keep it refrigerated. If it’s not refrigerated, you should throw it out immediately. It’s important for the safety of the product that it stays at a cool temperature.
You should be prepared to properly store the tofu if you aren’t going to use the entire package. There are a few options.
The best option is going to be storing the tofu in an air-tight container. A glass or plastic container will work fine. It should have a lid that will seal tightly. If the container doesn’t have lid, you can always use plastic wrap to cover the container.
Add some fresh water to the container prior to putting it back into the refrigerator. It does not need to be completely submerged, but it should cover most of the tofu. It’s best to replace the water with fresh water daily. This will extend the life of the tofu.
If you do not have a container, you can always store the tofu in a high-quality plastic bag. Reusable silicone bags also work great. Just be sure that they are sealed tightly so the water won’t spill out.
Tofu can also be frozen for long-term storage. You won’t want to store tofu as it is right after you take it out of the package. This tofu contains a lot of moisture and would result in a mushy mess if you frozen it like this. Tofu is best when it has a firm texture, so be sure to freeze it properly.
You must remove the moisture before freezing the tofu. The best way to do this is with a few plates or baking trays and some heavy books. Place the tofu on top of a paper towel on a plate or baking tray. Place another paper towel on top of the tofu. Top the tofu with another plate or baking tray.
Put a few heavy books on top of the plate/tray. Let the tofu sit like this for a few minutes until you notice the water coming out of the tofu. Once the tofu is drained, pat it dry.
Wrap the tofu in plastic freezer wrap or place it in a plastic bag. If you are wrapping with plastic wrap, make sure that it’s wrapped a few times and is very tight. You do not want any holes or any air pockets in the wrapped tofu. If you are going to use a plastic bag, make sure to squeeze out all the extra air before sealing.
If you have a vacuum seal machine, that is even better. This will create an air-tight seal that will be sure to maintain the freshness of the tofu.
Make sure that you label the tofu prior to putting it in the freezer. This is important to know so you can properly keep track of your tofu storage. The tofu will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. The longer the tofu is frozen, the higher the chances are that its original flavor might be compromised.
Keep this in mind when you are storing tofu in the refrigerator or the freezer. It’s always best consumed fresh, but it should be noted that the flavor might change as time goes on.
How To Tell If Tofu Has Gone Bad
There are a few different ways to tell if tofu is still safe to eat. Always be sure to check the tofu first before cooking. You should be able to tell right way if tofu has gone bad. These methods will help you determine whether the tofu is safe to consume.
The first way to check to see if tofu has gone bad is just to simply look at it. Tofu should be a white/natural color and not have any dark spots or mold on it. If the tofu has changed color, it has gone bad and should be thrown out.
You can also tell if tofu has gone bad by its texture and shape. If the tofu is no longer firm and can maintain its shape, it might be bad. The tofu should always be firm and not crumble when it’s picked up. If the texture is a little off, try the next step, which is smelling the tofu. This will be the sure way of determining if tofu has gone bad.
The most noticeable way to tell if tofu has gone bad is by smelling it. The tofu should not have a strong smell on its own. Spoiled tofu will have a potent, sour smell. It will not be pleasant at all. Be sure to discard the tofu right away if you notice that strong smell.
Tofu is a great meal option that can be cooked several ways. It’s important to understand that it does not have an indefinite shelf life before starting to cook with tofu. Can tofu go bad? The simple answer is yes. Make sure to consume 2-3 weeks after you purchase or within 7 days of opening. Tofu should always be fresh when consumed and stored properly. When you do that, you are good to go and can now enjoy your delicious tofu.