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Tofu 101

Tofu has a reputation for being bland and squishy. But, when cooked right, tofu can be the star ingredient of a dish. Tofu is made from soy beans, which have all of the essential amino acids. The amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Most plant-based foods are not complete proteins, but tofu is! Eating tofu is important for vegetarians in order to make sure they are getting all the amino acids found in meat products.

Here are some tips to help you successfully choose, cook and eat tofu.

Which tofu should I buy?

Firm or extra firm tofu is best for main dishes. This will allow you to marinate or season the tofu and it will not have a slimy or crumbly consistency. Firm and extra firm tofu is perfect for sautéing, baking or grilling. Silken or softer tofu would be more suitable to add to sauces, smoothies or baking.

How should I store tofu?

Tofu comes in a sealed package with water. Unopened, tofu will keep for several weeks. Once opened and uncooked, tofu will only last about 1 week. If you do not use the whole package, transfer the remaining, uncooked tofu to a Tupperware container and cover with fresh water.

How should I prepare tofu?

Before cooking tofu, it needs to be pressed. This may seem like an unnecessary step but is actually very important. Tofu contains a lot of water. If you don’t press your tofu, it will not absorb any flavors you add and will remain mushy on the inside.

To press tofu: Cut the tofu block into 2 or 4 thinner strips. On a cutting board, lay a kitchen towel or several paper towels out. Then place the strips on the towel. Place another kitchen towel or paper towels on top. Then place a cutting board or plate with a heavy object, like a cookbook, on top. Leave this set up for about 5 minutes. You can also use your hands to gently press down on the towels.

How should I cook tofu?

Tofu can be cooked in several ways, including baking, sautéing, grilling or in a slow cooker.

Crispy Baked Tofu

Check out these recipes to help guide you to preparing great tofu...

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