Tofu 101

April 08, 2013

All you need to know about tofu

What is Tofu?
Tofu is a soybean curd product made from soymilk that has been curdled and pressed into thick rectangles. Tofu is an excellent low-fat non-animal protein source; used in many foods as substitute for ricotta or other cheeses in some frozen entrees or meats in deli foods and hot dogs.

How to Buy:
Fresh tofu is available in the refrigerated section; some packages are shelf stable but require refrigeration after opening.

How to Read the Label:
Check expiration dates and sodium content. Some brands are high in calcium and magnesium so read nutritional facts panel and compare brands.

Extra firm and firm are good choices for sautéing, stir-fry or broiling as they keep shape well; firm tofu is drained and pressed. 
Medium, soft or “silky” are good for smoothies or puddings and are un-drained, these types contain the highest moisture content.
Dried tofu is sliced thinly and used to make noodles or crumbles and has the least moisture.
Pre-cooked flavored tofu versions are ready-to-eat.

How to Use:
Tofu is bland yet needs no cooking. To add flavor, broil with a little sesame oil; steam, stir-fry or bake. Eat hot or cold. Tofu has crumbly texture when solid, smooth thick texture in soft grades. All types of tofu absorb spices and seasonings well.

How to Store:
Refrigerate immediately after purchase. Refrigerate between uses, rinsing the tofu and adding fresh water to cover the remaining brick. Seal tightly in a glass or stainless steel container with a tight-fitting lid. If gamy or turns gray or brown while refrigerated, discard. Tofu can be frozen in the package or over wrapped. Freezing creates a pleasant chewy texture and slightly darker color, and when thawed, quickly absorbs marinades. Best to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Squeeze out excess water, then use as desired.

Health Benefits:
Very good source of protein and iron; low in fat, low in calories, no cholesterol. Firmer types have more protein because they have less water.