Have you ever wondered why some Tofu is better than others? It seems to be more meat textured and absorbs all the sauces. It’s because it has been frozen. Frozen Tofu changes the structure of this soybean curd and is coveted worldwide for its versatility as a food stable. But what happens if you freeze cooked Tofu?
Did you know that Tofu is excellent for weight loss? It is a plant-based protein that is low in calories and cholesterol and is gluten-free. It can mimic the flavors of meat if cooked correctly, which makes Tofu appealing to a much wider audience than just vegans.
This article uncovers the storage techniques of Tofu and how you can maximize its shelf life even if they are leftovers. We answer many frequently asked questions, providing factual information enhancing your culinary skills.
Let’s get after it.
Does cooked Tofu expire?
Yes, it is a perishable food so it will expire.
The good news is that cooked Tofu will last longer than raw Tofu in the fridge. Cooked Tofu can be stored in an airtight container for 6 to 7 days in the fridge, almost double that of fresh raw Tofu.
Tofu is about 86% water. When the Tofu is cooked, it releases the water as the structure of the bean curd is heated, making the Tofu become spongy. Do you know what sponges do? They absorb the sauces on the plate, making the Tofu taste fantastic.
The milk soy curd does not contain the thing that makes it turn sour when it’s been cooked, which is the milk for soybeans.
However, it’s not all sunshine and roses in the world of preserving Tofu. After six days of storage in the fridge, the Tofu should be eaten or discarded.
Achieving long-term storage of Tofu has been a test science. It was accidentally invented 2000 years ago in Japan. Chinese and Japanese have been challenged with how to preserve Tofu over the long months when soy crops are unavailable.
Freezing Tofu may seem the obvious choice, and it does have some benefits, but is there another way for long-term storage?
Cooking Tofu does extend its life in the fridge, being a much drier product, but does cooked Tofu stand up to the rigors of freezing?
Does cooked Tofu need to be stored in the fridge?
Yes. However, When it comes to keeping Tofu fresh after buying it and, in particular, after cooking it, it can be confusing due to Tofu not always being stored in the chiller section of the grocery store.
Depending on how you prepare Tofu or how you want to use it in the future, Tofu can be cooked in a wide range of ways, and storage methods may also differ slightly.
Raw Tofu should be refrigerated immediately and last approximately 3 to 4 days. On the other hand, cooked Tofu should be allowed to cool for thirty minutes before placing it in an airtight container. Stored this way, cooked Tofu will last for 6 to 7 days.
If you have vacuum-packed Tofu, the shelf life will be extended exponentially, it can store for three months in the fridge, and some say it could last for a year.
Why is Tofu not kept in the chiller section at some grocery stores? Because it is covered in freshwater that protects the Tofu from bacteria. You can use this method of preserving Tofu at home, but it seems hit-and-miss.
Does cooked Tofu need to be covered? Does it make a difference?
Cooked Tofu should be covered. But before it is covered and placed in the fridge, it should be at room temperature, so from the pan, it may take 20 minutes to cool sufficiently to be able to store it in the fridge in a container.
The airtight container will prevent bacteria from getting to the cooked Tofu, and Tofu will absorb aromas from the fridge, like garlic, onion, and other food with intense aromas.
If you don’t have an airtight container to hand, it’s okay to wrap the cooked Tofu with cling wrap of aluminum foil. Go for the double wrap method to keep the cooked Tofu in good condition.
Can you put warm cooked Tofu in the fridge?
No, don’t do it.
If you read online that you can’t put warm cooked Tofu in the fridge because of condensation coalescing to water droplets that will drip and make your cooked Tofu soggy and less appealing at best, it is why you can’t put the warm chicken in the fridge, you are being misled.
Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing warm cooked Tofu in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.
Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.
So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your warm cooked Tofu. It is the contents of the entire fridge.
Above 40℉-140℉ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-140℉ for just two hours.
Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.
Furthermore, the warm cooked food should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!
How long can cooked Tofu sit out?
Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.
Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.
Does unopened Tofu go bad?
Fortunately, Tofu has a remarkably long shelf life. If you store the Tofu in the refrigerator, it can be eaten 3 to 5 days after the expiration date on the packaging. Unopened Tofu keeps well for two to three months in the refrigerator.
Despite the long shelf life of unopened Tofu, it will eventually go bad. It is a perishable food made from soybean curds.
Once you open the pack, the shelf life plummets like a rock to the ocean bed and lasts for 3 to 4 days. This should tell you everything you need to know about how fragile Tofu actually is.
How long does cooked Tofu last in the fridge?
If stored correctly, you can expect the cooked Tofu to last a week. If it has a sauce that is essentially cream based, the preservation time could be shorter.
Raw unopened Tofu has a remarkable shelf life of around four months when stirred in the fridge, but it can last equally as long stored in a cool, dry pantry.
Raw Tofu lasts for three days when the package is opened.
Does frozen cooked Tofu go bad?
Tofu can be frozen in both its raw and cooked forms. Tofu will freeze well no matter what kind it is or how you prepare it.
The texture and consistency of Tofu will alter after freezing, although typically for the better.
Even if you pressed your Tofu before cooking it, Tofu that has been previously frozen would be firmer and chewier than it was when it was first made. We are aware that this may appear counterintuitive.
How to freeze cooked Tofu
- This exercise is only worth considering if you have a worthwhile amount of cooked Tofu to freeze.
- Place a sheet of cling wrap or aluminum foil out. Place your Tofu on the wrap and tightly wrap the cooked Tofu.
- If you want individual pieces of Tofu, wrap them separately so you can retrieve smaller portions if required.
- Once wrapped, you can wrap the entire amount of cooked Tofu in one sheet of aluminum foil. You are endeavoring to prevent freezer burn with the wrapping technique.
- Place the wraps into an airtight container.
- Mark the container with the cooked Tofu’s freezing and expiration dates.
- Place it in the freezer.
Cooked Tofu will freeze perfectly for 3 months, and fresh raw Tofu will freeze for 6 months.
How to thaw cooked Tofu?
Place the Tofu on a platter in the fridge and let it thaw overnight. Tofu can be dense, so don’t rush the thawing process. The Tofu could start to separate and become milky.
Can You Eat Cooked Tofu Cold?
Although you can eat cooked Tofu cold, it might not taste as delicious as it would if it were warmed up first, depending on how it was prepared. Eating cooked Tofu is okay as long as it is properly stored and isn’t left out on the counter for too long.
It may be interesting to enjoy additional variety in your Tofu by experimenting with how cooked Tofu feels when it is hot versus cold.
Tofu is wonderfully versatile; even cooked leftovers can be stored in the fridge for almost a week and frozen for three months.
Many chefs opt for freezing Tofu to make the texture spongy, so it absorbs the delicious flavors on the plate.