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  • Alyssa Fontaine, RD
  • Jun 19, 2024

How Long Does Tofu Last?

There are times when tofu can stay in the fridge for longer than expected but we never know if it is safe to eat.

So lets breakdown when to know when your tofu has overdone its stay and know until when it should be stored.

Our vegan nutritionist here, will run through how to handle your tofu and then when its time to say goodbye.

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How to tell if your tofu has gone bad?

There are 3 main ways to check if your tofu has gone bad.

Just noticing one of these 3 can mean that it’s time to toss that tofu and it’s not best to consume.

  • Appearance
  • Smell
  • Texture 

Check appearance

Fresh tofu will have a very consistent pale white/cream color all throughout the entire block. The original color might be slightly different if it has different flavorings added to it or just the type and form/firmness.

However, the color will always be uniform throughout the entire block. When you start to notice discoloration that is a clear sign that it is no longer good.

If you see a yellowing or browning outset layer while the inside remains the original color or if you notice spots of yellow or brown then the tofu is spoiled.

Smell

Fresh tofu has a very mild smell to it. The smell is quite unnoticeable when you first open it. However when tofu starts to get old the smell will start to change and once this smell is very clearly noticeable it’s time to toss.

Smells to look out for are smells of sour or rotten odor that are very unpleasant; it has most likely gone bad.

Texture 

Depending on the firmness and variety of tofu, their textures may vary, but they generally share a common characteristic texture. 

They tend to be firm, retaining their shape with a slight springiness that gives them a bounce. However, once tofu spoils, this texture undergoes a noticeable change.

If the tofu feels excessively soft, slimy, or mushy beyond its original form, it has likely spoiled and is not safe for consumption.

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How to store tofu?

Unopened

If the tofu has just been bought and is unopened it is best to just keep in the original packaging it came in.

The packaging is specifically designed to maintain the tofu’s freshness. With a firm seal to prevent air from infiltrating, which could lead to bacterial growth and render it unsafe for consumption. This practice is particularly crucial if you don’t plan to use the tofu immediately.

Opened

Once you’ve opened the tofu package for a recipe but have leftovers, you can store it in an airtight container.

As a vegan dietitian we suggest that you ensure the tofu is fully submerged in water when placing it in the container. To maintain its freshness, it’s crucial to change the water daily. Alternatively, you can transfer the tofu to fresh containers filled with water daily before storing in the fridge.

This environment will then keep it nice and fresh for whenever you will be using it next

How to freeze tofu?

Storing tofu in the freezer can be incredibly convenient, especially if you prefer having it readily available or if you buy in bulk for meal prepping purposes.

However, it’s important to note that this method may not be suitable for softer tofu varieties such as silken or soft black tofu. These types are smooth and delicate, and freezing can cause them to lose their shape and texture.

Before freezing tofu, there are a few key steps to consider.

Step 1 – drain and press the tofu

First things first you always want to remove the tofu from the original packaging if you are freezing it. 

You want to make sure to wash the tofu before completing draining any of the excess liquid from the tofu.  

Pressing the tofu is essential to remove excess water, which can be done by wrapping the tofu in a paper towel and then placing a weight on top for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2 – cut or slice the tofu

Cut the tofu into slices, cubes or any desired shape. It is typically a lot easier to cut before freezing than after thawing from the freezer.

Step 3 – freeze on a baking sheet

To prevent the tofu pieces from sticking together, it’s beneficial to freeze each piece separately before storing them together in a bag.

To do so, space evenly on a baking sheet with parchment paper the pieces of tofu in a single layer.

Then place them in the freezer for up to 30 minutes or until you notice each piece has evenly frozen.

Step 4 – transfer to a freezer bag or container

Once the tofu has completely frozen solid on the baking sheet, you can place them all together in a freezer bag or container without having to worry about them sticking to one another.

Step 5 – store in the freezer

The tofu can then be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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How long does tofu last after opened?

Depending on when you plan to use the tofu, leaving it unopened in its original packaging might be the best option if you won’t be using it in the near future.

Tofu stored in its unopened original packaging can typically last about 1 to 2 weeks when refrigerated. It’s advisable to check the manufacturer’s expiration date on the packaging as a guideline for its shelf life.

However, as a vegan nutritionist, it’s crucial to note that tofu can still spoil before the expiration date if it’s not stored correctly or if there are issues with the packaging, such as slight unsealing.

Once opened, tofu can remain fresh for 3-5 days if stored properly before any signs of spoilage become apparent.

How long does cooked tofu last?

When meal prepping it can be very helpful to pre-cook a lot of your ingredients so that they are immediately ready to be used once you need them. That is why cooking tofu ahead of time can be so helpful.

It’s essential to remember to use opened tofu within 3-5 days and to cook it before it spoils. Storing tofu in an airtight container is best to prevent it from getting moist, which could hasten spoilage.

Silken tofu shelf life

Since silken tofu has much more water content and a different form to regular tofu, you should look out for it as it may not last as long as your regular tofu.

Due to its moist nature, silken tofu can develop bacteria more rapidly, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on it.

Typically, it should not remain in the fridge once opened for more than 4 days, and in some cases, it may even be shorter.

To extend its freshness as much as possible, store silken tofu in an airtight container in the fridge, similar to regular tofu. Submerge it in water and change the water regularly to maximize its shelf life.

To know everything you need to know about utilizing tofu before it expires book a consultation with one of vegan nutritionists!

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