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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Leftover Tofu

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I discovered some tofu in my refrigerator recently (beautifully hidden behind a large carton of juice) and saw that the small piece in a small bowl of water was yellowing, smelly, and entirely unappetizing. Reluctantly (because I hate to waste food) I threw it away. Which is precisely what you should do if this ever happens to you. Although packaged tofu can have a shelf life of up to 10 months, once the package is opened, the tofu does not remain safe to eat for very long. When living in your refrigerator (which should only be a few days), it is important that the tofu is kept cold enough and in clean fresh water, changed daily. We don't usually think of tofu as something that can cause food poisoning, but it can.

This is from an article that appeared in


Tofu should be stored in the refrigerator below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Aseptically packaged tofu has a shelf life of 10 months, but once it has been opened it should be refrigerated and used within two days. For tofu packaged in water, open the package, drain off the water, and replace the water with fresh water daily. This type of tofu should be used within a week of opening the package.

Tofu can also be stored in the freezer. If you choose to store tofu this way, it should be thawed in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Once tofu has been cooked, any leftovers should promptly be refrigerated.


Cooking and Serving

Most packaged tofu sold in stores has been pasteurized, packaged and refrigerated. Therefore, packaged tofu should be safe to use without cooking, as long as food safety precautions have been followed. Raw tofu sold in bulk bins poses a higher food safety concern. Since this product has not been pasteurized, it should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit prior to consumption, according to Colorado State University Extension. This can be accomplished by cutting tofu into chunks and steaming or boiling it for five to ten minutes.

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