In this article, I'm going to tell you precisely how long does tofu last, ways to prolong its shelf life, and some tips on how you can get the best out of your tofu.
But before we delve deeper into those details, I'd like to present you with some useful facts first, to help you understand how much impact tofu has on the lives of many people around the world.
What Exactly Is Tofu, And Why Is It So Popular?
The history of tofu has been a subject of debate for decades. The long-standing theory is that tofu was discovered by an unnamed Chinese cook who accidentally mixed a batch of fresh soy milk with nigari.
When salt is extracted from seawater, a mineral-rich firming agent remains, and that is Niragi. It helps in solidifying tofu and help it keep its form.
Tofu, also called "bean curd," is made of condensed soy milk pressed into solid white blocks using a process that's fairly similar to making cheese.
Tofu is often submerged in water to keep it fresh, and the excess water in tofu needs to be drained, especially if you want your tofu to be firm. This is the reason why most people at home use tofu presses to help drain the excess water from the tofu.
If you want to get the best out of your tofu, for that wonderful tofu recipe you're about to make, I suggest you use only the best tofu press to make sure you get only the best results!
Moving on, tofu is famous because of a myriad of reasons.
Perhaps the best reason is that it's so nutritious that it's been linked to several significant health benefits.
Tofu is believed to lessen the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some common cancer forms such as breast, stomach, and prostate cancer. Furthermore, tofu contains soy isoflavones, a natural plant compound believed to have various health benefits.
Tofu's many health benefits are often attributed to its isoflavone content, which is believed to be responsible for other potential benefits such as:
Better bone health
Better brain function
Counters menopausal symptoms
Improved skin elasticity
Although generally considered safe, there's a lot of controversy surrounding tofu.
Some health professionals advise certain people to moderate their tofu intake. I'm talking about people with brain tumors and thyroid issues.
I wouldn't go into details regarding that issue, so it's up to you whether you want to dig deeper regarding that matter, I just wanted to present that information because they're also a contributing factor as to why tofu is so popular.
Now, I'm going to tell you about different tofu types, so just keep reading!
Types Of Tofu
Depending on your perspective, this one can either be straightforward or complex.
Personally, I simply categorize tofu into two: Regular and Silken.
Although there are several varieties, I don't think you really need to get familiar with all of them, unless you're aiming to become a tofu expert.
With that said, I'll tell you about regular and silken tofu, and list the other types and let you find out about them at your leisure:
This type of tofu is used mainly for Asian dishes. Regular tofu is denser compared to Silken tofu, but it's still soft. Regular tofu is often the best seller among the several tofu varieties because it's relatively good in the flavors of sauces, broths, seasoning, and spices.
Silken tofu is more commonly known as Japanese tofu. It's a type of tofu that has a relatively high water content, which is exactly the reason why it's silky and creamy. It's often used as a substitute for thick cream, and fresh cream cheese.
Other Tofu Varieties
So How Long Does Tofu Last?
And now, we've already come to the question you came here to know the answer to: "How long does tofu last?"
Well, it depends whether we're talking about an already opened, or an unopened package of tofu.
Once the package is opened, you have, on average, around 3 to 5 days to consume the tofu. Keep in mind that it has to be refrigerated, or it'll go bad quickly.
Also, your tofu's shelf-life is highly dependent on your storage technique.
One of the craziest rumors I've ever read on the internet is that tofu doesn't go bad. Well, I hope you're not one of those who believe that, 'cause as much as I hate to break it to you, tofu can perish.
I mean, it's food. It's supposed to be a perishable good.
It's meant to go bad after a specific time, and the only thing you can do to make sure it doesn't go bad quickly is to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to store your tofu.
An unopened package can last around 2 to 3 months after the manufacturing date, even without refrigeration.
If you want to prolong its shelf life, all you have to do is keep it frozen, and that'll extend its shelf life to up to six months.
Some people actually claim that there were rare instances where frozen tofu lasted for some years, and although I doubt its integrity, experts state that it can actually happen.
I don't think most people would store tofu for some years though unless they're experimenting on it or something.
It's a super food that goes well with almost any dish, which is precisely the reason why I refuse to believe there's a real need to store tofu for long periods, but well, whatever floats their boat.
How Can You Tell If Tofu Is Still Fresh?
It's relatively easy to determine whether your tofu is fresh, or if it's already gone bad.
The first thing you want to do is take a closer look at your tofu. Fresh tofu has a firm look on it. It's also noticeable white.
If you see tofu of any other color, I suggest you immediately toss it in the trash bin.
The other thing you can do is to smell it.
Fresh tofus have a somewhat neutral odor. Besides the smell of the water where the tofu is submerged, it 'shouldn't really have any strong smell.
If you smelled something other than that, then you know what you should do.