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04/08 Tofu: Tricks for Extending Its Shelflife?

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As I find myself throwing out , for the umpteen hundredth time, a partial package of fresh tofu(stored in refreshed water), I reach out to those knowledgeable CHs to ask the above question. I will eventually get ‘round to cooking a lot and experimenting w/ tofu, but for the time being, I use it primarily for udon noodle soups and I prefer the soft tofu(would that the so-amazing extra soft kind were available in Boston area supermarkets).

While I would not want to, what happens when you freeze it? Will it keep longer if marinated(or fried) and if so, how long? I appreciate your help.

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  1. Texture changes when you freeze it. It becomes kind of spongy -- though I'm not sure if the really soft tofu will do that. Not sure if you're near any Korean supermarkets, but Pulmuone sells a block of tofu that's already been divided into two pieces in its own packaging. So you will rarely have tofu that goes bad. And I don't think it will keep longer if you marinated and fried it even though I haven't tried it.

    1. As Miss Needle says, I wouldn't try freezing it.
      Cooking and refrigerating will extend the life by one or two days.
      Refreshing the water daily will extend the life somewhat, but not by much.
      Your best bet is to get either smaller portions or the divided portions available at Korean/Asian markets.
      The creamy tofu should also be available at larger Asian markets.

      1. Do you have a stove top smoker? If so, try marinating and slow baking it to dry it out, then smoking with suitable chips. Smoked tofu lasts quite a bit longer, makes great sandwiches and is awesome on pizza.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lenox637

          brilliant! i am a sucker for all smoked foods.if you have done this 3 step process, would you advise specific timing for each step? thanks much.

          i will also follow the others' suggestions re dual pkgs. and freezing.

        2. I regularly freeze firm tofu - it changes the texture in a way that I find appealing. When I ate in Shanghai, restaurants would advertise that tofu was frozen before being cooked. I would try freezing some and see if you like it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: justin_mjn

            Vegetarians generally substitute pre-frozen tofu for ground meat. It's not a bad substitute.

          2. Change water twice a day if possible using bottled or filtered water. Last 6 days.

            1. I agree with re-freshing the water as much as possible - should last 4-6 days in the fridge. I often forget about my soft tofu in 'fresh' water in the back of my fridge, which I happily find frozen a week later.

              Yes, it can be done! And I quite like the texture of defrosted soft tofu. The water expands in the cracks / holes of the 'fu so as to condense the otherwise light and fluffy softness - it becomes dense in irregular patterns - not like the consistent density of a firm tofu. The texture becomes a little rubbery - much like defrosted ground beef when it cooks or the sticks of bean curd when it's dehydrated. I sort of rip it apart with my hands into rustic chunks and throw into soups / stews, stir fry w/ veggies, etc. Mostly, I do a tofu (using 3 types of tofu - defrosted soft, soft & beancurd) & mushroom stew w/ oyster sauce and seafood.

              If I had some soft tofu right now, I'd go and freeze it cuz all this talk is making me hungry! Call me crazy ....