How Long Does Tofu Last? – Grow Your Pantry

How Long Does Tofu Last?

by Susan Grey on August 05, 2019

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Tofu tends to last for between 3 and 5 days after you open it from its original packaging. However, it depends on how you store and plan on using it (link).
Tofu is a soy by-product that's sold in blocks. It's made using soybeans, curdling agents and you can flavor it through a wide variety of sauces, marinades together with spices to suit your desire. Tofu is of Japanese origin but is enjoyed by people all over the world thanks to its nutritional value. The product is rich in protein, calcium, and iron. It's also a great meat substitute, especially for vegetarians and vegans. 
To make the most out of the benefits you get from consuming the product, its best to eat it when it's in its best quality and condition.

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How Long Does It Last?

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Cooked Tofu: 

Once cooked and stored in the refrigerator cooked tofu should last between 4-5 days.

Unopened Tofu:

Unrefrigerated: 3-5 days after the sell by date as long as it is unopened.
Refrigerated: 2-3 months after the sell by date as long as it is unopened.
There are several types available including, silken, medium-firm, stinky, and extra-firm tofu, all of which have an expiration date on the packaging given by the manufacturer to advise when the tofu is bad. The tofu varieties are available in most grocery stores and supermarkets.

Opened Tofu: 

Frozen: 3-4 months after the sell by date
Refrigerated: 3-5 days after the sell by date.
You can freeze tofu to prolong its life and so you don't have to keep running to the supermarket to buy more each time you need it. If you cook with only part of the block, it's advisable to freeze the remaining part immediately. 
When you remove the product from its original packaging and place it in the refrigerator, it can last for between 3 and 5 days. It's also good to take note that this approximation also does come from manufacturers of tofu themselves.

Ways To Extend The Life Of Tofu

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Unopened Tofu:

Fridge: The best way to store unopen tofu is in the fridge. When you refrigerate the tofu in its original packaging, it should last between 2-3 months after the expiration dates. Ensure that you never open the product from its original packaging until you are ready to use it.

Opened Tofu:

Fridge:
1. Store tofu submerged in freshwater once opened. Never store open tofu in an open bowl, tray or plate since its highly susceptible to mold and bacteria.
2. Use a plastic container that has a sealable lid to store the tofu. Ensure that the container is airtight. You can also use a zip lock bag for storage.
3. Change the water daily to keep it fresh the longest. This works for various tofu varieties including silken, soft, extra firm, and super firm types. Storing the tofu submerged in water can make it last for as many as 10 days
4. Before you eat the tofu preserved in this manner, check if the water is clear. Cloudy water may be an indication of the growth of bacteria, and you may need to dispose of the tofu.
Alternatively, you can use safe freezer containers. Remove all the water from the tofu and cover with a plastic wrap before placing in the freezer-safe container.
Freezer:
You can also freeze open tofu to make it last longer. When you freeze the tofu, you will obtain a different texture which many people desire. You will notice that tofu will turn yellowish when frozen. It also becomes chewier and spongy in terms of taste. 
1. Remove all the water from the tofu properly. When you fail to drain all the water, the water tends to form ice pockets that turn to holes after you thaw the tofu. Removing the excess water before freezing ensures the tofu remains firm after its frozen.
2. Lay the tofu on a kitchen towel or paper towel, so it absorbs all the water.
3. Cover the tofu using another kitchen towel or paper towel then place a heavy object on top to help squeeze out more water. However, be keen not to put to a heavy object such that the tofu gets crumbled. An item such as a book would be appropriate.
4. Allow the tofu to drain for about 30 minutes before you finally remove the kitchen towel or the paper towel
5. You may cut the tofu into cute cubes or slices before placing in a freezing bag or a plastic bag
6. Keep the tofu frozen. This can preserve the tofu for between 3 and 6 months. Experts, however, advise that you consume the tofu after three months. 

How To Tell If Tofu Has Gone Bad

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Image from @homeward_bound18 Instagram

 

Sight: Of course the first step to knowing if the tofu has gone off is by looking at it. If it appears darker; beige or brownish, then this will be an indication that it has gone bad. Also, be keen to observe the growth of mold on the tofu; when you notice its best to discard the tofu immediately.
Smell: The second step is to smell it. If it has a sour smell similar to that of rotten food, then it's not safe for consumption when you notice a smell that is not normal, then its best to do away with it. 
Taste: If the tofu has a sour taste, then it is an indication the tofu is bad.
The manufacturer is right: Another essential guide to knowing if the tofu is still safe for consumption is to check the sell-by date. 

FAQs

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How long past expiration does it last?
Tofu does go bad, and the answer to this question depends on whether you have removed the tofu from its original packaging or not. As well as how you store the tofu, whether you store it at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
When you put the tofu into the refrigerator, it will still remain suitable for consumption for around 2 or three months after the sell-by date provided you never open the package. However, when you open the refrigerated package, it only lasts for 3-5 days unless frozen or stored in water. 
When frozen, it can even have a shelf life of 6 months, which is way past the manufacturer sell-by date. 
Can you eat tofu after it's expired?
Just like meat, eating expired tofu can pose serious illnesses. For instance, if the product contains molds, also referred to as mycotoxins, you may develop serious stomach illnesses such as food poisoning. If it has aflatoxin, you may be at risk of getting potentially dangerous diseases such as cancer. 
That said; always ensure that you store the product properly, especially when already opened from its original packaging. 
The sell-by date is useful for knowing for how long the tofu is safe to eat. But you can always eat the tofu longer past the date indicates when you refrigerate it effectively or freeze it. 
Throw away the tofu when you suspect it's not suitable for consumption even after freezing or refrigerating. 
If you want to store cooked tofu, you can keep it in the fridge and consume it within four and five days. Just be sure to place it in an airtight container and keep the sauce separately.

 

 

Interested in learning more about tofu?
Check out these articles:
What Does Tofu Taste Like?
Is Tofu Keto?
Can Tofu Be Eaten Raw?
Types of Tofu
Tofu Press
Can Dogs Eat Tofu?

 

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