Tofu is a great plant-based protein to add to your diet. If you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is one of the best ingredients to include in your meals.
As more people switch to an increasingly plant-based diet, tofu has become very popular. It is a new ingredient for a lot of people, so naturally, there are a lot of doubts regarding its storage and longevity.
Here’s everything you need to know about tofu’s shelf-life:
Can Tofu Spoil?
Tofu is a little different from other foods, so a lot of people are confused about how to store it and what it looks like when it goes bad.
Like most food items, tofu doesn’t stay good indefinitely. How long it stays good for depends on how you store it, how much time has passed, whether it has been opened or not, etc.
Can You Eat Bad Tofu?
If the tofu is expired, you shouldn’t be eating it. It is never a good idea to eat food that has gone bad.
If you’re unsure, you may examine the tofu to find out if it’s still OK to eat since as it goes bad, its appearance and fragrance will change.
Better tofu is substantially lighter in color than spoiled tofu. Even worse, it can become dark or pale brown. The tofu is no longer safe to consume if it has mold or a fuzzy covering on the surface.
The smell of spoiled tofu is very distinct. It can smell rancid, sour, or a little like rotten milk, while good tofu is almost odorless.
If you see any of these signs, the tofu isn’t safe for consumption and should be thrown away.
How Long Does Unopened Tofu Last?
This depends on what kind of tofu it is. There are 2 kinds of tofu: one that needs to be refrigerated and one that can be kept at room temperature. They will have different expiry dates and refrigerated tofu generally has a shorter shelf-life.
Unopened tofu usually stays good for 2 to 3 months. The labels should mention the exact expiry date. Storage is pretty simple: keep refrigerated tofu in the fridge, and room temperature tofu stored in a cool, dry cabinet.
It is not recommended to consume tofu that wasn’t stored properly or tofu that is past its expiry date.
Does Tofu Keep at Room Temperature?
Tofu has a lot of moisture, making it a bad food item to leave lying around at room temperature. It can start developing harmful bacteria which will make you sick.
It shouldn’t be left uncovered in the open at all. However, if it was in the open because it was part of a meal, like a leftover salad from lunch, it is okay to cover it and keep it in the refrigerator.
For How Long Does Tofu Stay Good in the Fridge?
If you haven’t opened the tofu yet, just follow the expiry date mentioned on the label. It is always accurate as long as you store it properly.
Opened tofu stays good in the refrigerator for about 3-5 days. Again, it needs to be stored properly. If it is any older, it is best to err on the side of caution and throw it away.
If you frequently take the tofu out of the fridge to cut off a piece and use it in the kitchen, these small pockets of time outside the fridge reduce its shelf-life.
Always check the look and smell of the tofu that has been in storage. If it seems off in any way, best to get rid of it than consume it and fall sick.
Why Does Tofu Spoil in the Fridge?
If the tofu was refrigerated and within its expiry date and it still went bad, the problem might be with your storage method.
If you keep it uncovered inside the fridge, it can absorb bacteria from other food items in the fridge and even start smelling like other foods like onions or garlic.
It should either be properly wrapped in plastic or kept in a plastic box with clean water. The water stops the tofu from getting dry. You will need to change the water in the box every day.
Can Tofu Be Frozen?
Tofu can definitely be frozen. Some people swear by it because they feel that frozen tofu is a lot more absorbent, so it takes on other flavors nicely while cooking.
It is best to freeze tofu in smaller portions as they are easier to use. 1-inch cubes seem to be the best size for freezing tofu. This way, you can take out exactly how much you need instead of trying to cut through a block of solidly frozen tofu.
Before freezing, you need to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Use paper towels to pat the tofu cubes dry.
You can also cover the cubes with a paper towel and leave a book on top of it for 15-20 minutes. The weight helps get the excess water out. A tofu press is the most convenient way of getting water out of the tofu.
Tofu stays good for 4 to 6 months in the freezer. It will still say safe to eat a little while later, but there might be a decline in taste.
Also check: Does Hummus Need to Be Refrigerated?
What Is the Shelf Life of Cooked Tofu?
Cooked tofu lasts 2-3 days longer than raw tofu. If you’ve got a large amount of raw tofu, you should cook it and store it in the refrigerator. That way, it can stay good for a whole week.
People don’t like freezing cooked tofu even though it is safe and makes tofu lasts longer because the texture changes slightly. If you want to see for yourself, freeze a small amount of cooked tofu to see if you can handle the changed texture.
If it doesn’t bother you, you can go ahead and freeze cooked tofu. Just thaw and reheat whenever you want to eat it.
We hope now you know exactly how long unopened, opened, and cooked tofu can be stored in the fridge, at room temperature or in the freezer.
These timeframes only work if you store tofu properly, and even then, there is no guarantee because there are several factors that can increase or decrease its longevity.
Therefore, always check the tofu for signs of spoilage yourself before you cook or eat it. If something is off about the look or smell, the taste will also be off. If you are confused, go ahead and chuck it instead of taking a chance.
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