Tofu is a staple for vegetarians and a tasty ingredient to add to your diet. This soy-based protein is also a popular meat substitute.
In case you have too many leftovers, you might wonder how to preserve this bean curd.
Perhaps, your local grocery store doesn’t always have tofu in stock. So, whenever you find this vegetarian protein, you can’t leave without bringing back home a few extra packs.
Either way, you might be wondering if you can freeze this soy-based protein.
The answer is yes. With some easy steps, we can freeze tofu to use for later cooking. If you are curious, keep reading to find the essential details of freezing this bean curd.
How To Freeze Uncooked Tofu
Let’s talk about what to expect from freezing tofu.
The bean curd contains a lot of water. When it freezes, the water expands and forms ice crystals. These ice crystals will then turn into sponge-like holes as the tofu thaws.
The end result is firmer, chewier, and leathery. Freezing also turns the color from white to yellowish-beige. In essence, freezing alters both the appearance and texture.
Don’t worry. Frozen tofu is just as good as a fresh one and can be cooked into many delicious dishes.
Much to our surprise, this textural change is considered a significant benefit because the bean curd absorbs marinade and seasonings much better.
Here is our simple guide to freezing tofu for future meals.
- 1. Open the package and take out tofu. Don’t freeze in its original package.
- 2. Remove excess water out. You can simply pat it dry with a kitchen towel or squeeze it with a heavy object. Let it drain the water for 15 minutes or so.
- 3. Freeze a whole block or cut into small pieces. Suit yourself for this step. Just remember that an entire block takes longer to thaw than smaller pieces.
- 4. Pack into a resealable bag or a freezer-safe container.
- 5. Suck out excess air from the bag.
- 6. Seal it tightly and write the freezing date.
- 7. Place in the freezer for long-term storage.
How To Freeze Cooked Tofu
Having pre-cooked dishes in the fridge is always handy. Despite your busy schedule, you can still enjoy a delicious meal for dinner.
If you do a meal-prep, you might wonder whether you can freeze tofu after cooking. Absolutely, yes. The end result may slightly differ depending on other ingredients used in the cooking.
In general, you can freeze tofu-based dishes quite successfully, such as fried tofu, curry, stir-fries, or tofu scramble.
Let the dishes cool before packing into a freezer-safe container. Portion out the dishes, so you can easily take one pack for every meal. Freeze for up to 2 to 3 months, thaw in the fridge, or reheat it in the microwave or stovetop.
Defrosting and Using Frozen Tofu
When it’s time to cook, you can thaw frozen tofu in the refrigerator. Simply leave it there to slowly soften up. After it thoroughly defrosts, squeeze out excess water, and it’s ready for your recipe.
Frozen tofu is as versatile as fresh one. You can cook it in so many ways as you’d like.
As a matter of fact, some people freeze vegan protein to achieve a chewier and firmer texture, pretty close to meat texture. Some recipes even call frozen tofu because it soaks up the marinade much better.
Here are a few ideas to cook this meat substitute into delicious dishes:
- Stir fry with vegetables
- Braise it in soy sauce
- Deep fry it
- Grill or bake it
- Marinade it
How Long Can You Freeze Tofu?
Some producers suggest freezing their products for 3 to 4 months. According to the USDA, tofu maintains its quality for up to 5 months in the freezer. You can keep it longer, but beware that the flavor and texture will diminish the longer it is frozen.
After thawing, cook immediately and refrigerate the unused portion in a sealed container for up to 2 to 3 days.
See more: How to tell if tofu is bad
There are some general signs indicating tofu has spoiled. First, don’t use an unopened pack of tofu if the package is bloated. Other symptoms include cloudy liquid, discoloration (usually tofu looks darker or brownish), slimy look, molds’ appearance, sour smell, and fermented taste.
No. A slimy look might indicate that tofu has spoiled. Throw it away and clean the surrounding area where you stored the tofu.
Tofu can make you sick if it is contaminated with harmful bacteria. It may harbor the bacteria during the production, distribution, or sale. The risk is higher if this vegan food is served raw. It is suggested to cook it thoroughly unless it is sold as a ready-to-eat food. (*)
If you buy it from an unrefrigerated shelf, you can keep it at room temperature until opened. After opening, always keep it refrigerated in a sealed container.
If you experience an upset stomach after eating tofu, it might be a symptom of soy allergy or sensitivity. Stop eating the bean curd and consult your doctor.
Tofu is a good candidate for freezing, whether to rescue some leftovers or to stock up for future cooking. In fact, its chewier and meaty texture is preferable for a lot of recipes.
Before freezing, drain out the excess water. Pack in a container and freeze up to 3 to 4 months. Before cooking, thaw in the fridge and squeeze excess water. That’s it, how easy it is to freeze tofu for later meals!
*image by ajafoto/depositphotos