What is the shelf life of Tofu?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

At times, I suffer from "Food Paranoia." I blame my mother who would root through the refrigerator every Saturday and pull out anything that was a minute past the expiration date. Milk, one day past the expiration date, would be yanked out; she believed it was a carrier for ebola or mad cow disease. Meals would be strategically planned in order to use up condiments that were approaching their fated departure. One week we only ate hot dogs, hamburgers, and other sandwiches that could use the giant bottles of ketchup, mustard, and relish that my father bought at Costco.

It was a tug of war in my household because my father was the one who took out the trash. As my mother was throwing food away, he would pull out the condiments from the garbage and return it to the refrigerator- he was so frugal that, to him, dysentery was a small price to pay for items he bought at full price.

My mother did not catch on at first and believed her refrigerator was haunted- the ghosts of condiments appearing like specters. Once she figured out what my father was doing, she resorted to pouring the expired items down the garbage disposal.

I tend to rely on my senses. I figure if it smells sour or has mold on it then it needs to go into the trash. That is unless it is tofu.

I always have packages of tofu in my house because it is healthy and I promise myself every week that I am going to cook it. I don't know if it's the container or the idea that it is packed in water, but every week I throw it away. I have been told that tofu was a short shelf life and because it lacks flavor, I can't really tell if it is bad or not.

I decided to do a little research on the matter and here's what I found.

If you have the refrigerated kind (this is sold in the refrigerated area in the store), you usually have 70 days from the date of manufacture, which is the sell by date on the package. Once it is opened, you need to eat it within 3-5 days. You store opened tofu in an airtight container with water covering the tofu. The water must be changed every day. This is from bippee.

"You can tell if tofu went bad because there will be a sour smell and taste. Tofu really doesn't smell like anything.

You can freeze tofu for up to 3 months. Drain the water from the opened tofu package. Put into an airtight container and freeze. The taste will be the same, but the texture will be a little firmer.

If you have the non-refrigerated tofu that is in an aseptic container (you will find this in the non-refrigerated section of teh store) then the shlef life is about a year. Again, there should be a date on the container. Once opened you can store in the refrigerater same as above for 3-5 days."

And from prosoya

"What is the packaging and shelf-life of tofu?
For tofu, the packaging is usually heat sealed poly tubs or poly pouches with twist ties. Vacuum packaging is another option for firm tofu using commercially available machines. Proper refrigeration and sanitation can give shelf life of 3 weeks and longer. Pasteurization can extend it to over 6 weeks. Retorting is not suitable for tofu as it becomes chewy by excessive heat treatment. Aseptic silken tofu is available in Tetra-Brik® format using a patented process."

So I figure I guess I can let the thoughts of healthy eats live a couple more weeks.

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