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What Should I Consider When I Buy Tofu?

Article Details
  • Written By: Lakendra Scott
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 01 August 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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A staple one the Asian market, tofu is a healthy and versatile protein-rich food that is often used as a meat substitute. When buying tofu, it is most important to match the consistency of the tofu with your cooking needs, because different consistences are not interchangeable. It also is important to assess both your health needs and your food maintenance desires.

The three most commonly sold types of tofu are firm tofu, soft tofu and silken tofu. Each type also comes in firm or extra firm in most stores. Firm tofu is the most dense of the three types and, as a result, it maintains its shape well. For this reason, firm tofu is ideal for dishes that require a distinct and solidly shaped tofu, such as stir-fry recipes and grilled tofu recipes.

As its name suggests, soft tofu is a more pliable option than firm tofu. It is ideal for tofu recipes that require blending, such as oriental soups. Soft tofu also works well for recipes that require crumbled or mashed tofu, such as pasta dishes.

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Silken tofu is the third option to consider when you buy tofu, and it is the softest and most easily manipulated of the three types of tofu. It is made through a different process than firm and soft tofu, so its consistency is more creamy and is ideal for puréed and blended recipes. Silken tofu is normally used for salad dressings, sauces and desserts. Like soft and firm tofu, silken tofu comes in firm and extra-firm varieties, though there is rarely a noticeable difference between the two silken types.

Another quality to consider when you buy tofu is the health benefits of each type. All tofu is high in protein and low in sodium. Although all types are beneficial, the softer the tofu the less fat content is present which is something to consider for people watching fat intake. Though firm tofu has a higher fat content, it also is higher in protein, so your health-related priorities should be taken into consideration when you buy tofu.

How tofu is maintained should also be considered when you buy tofu. The shelf lives of different types of tofu differ dramatically. Silken tofu can last for as long as a year if unopened, but firm and soft tofu last only a few months unopened and must always be refrigerated. All types last only a week after being opened and must be completely submerged in water to maintain freshness.

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