How To Tell When Your Tofu Has Gone Bad

Tofu is a versatile plant-based protein and a beloved staple in many vegan and non-vegan kitchens. But like any perishable food, it has its limits. Tofu is a haven for dangerous microorganisms and pathogens that destroy food quality, so knowing the signs of spoiled tofu is essential for avoiding an unpleasant meal, or worse, food poisoning.

Fresh tofu is virtually odorless, with a neutral smell that won't turn your nose over. Spoiled tofu on the other hand can emit foul smells. A tofu block with sour, unusual smells is a clear indicator of spoilage. Visual cues are also crucial in determining the quality of tofu, and discoloration is another red flag. Instead of the usual creamy white or pale yellow, spoiled tofu is often bruised with a grey or brown hue. Another visual giveaway is a slimy texture — if the tofu feels overly slippery or sticky, it's time to say goodbye.

Any signs of mold growth on the tofu's surface should prompt immediate disposal. Mold not only affects the taste and texture of tofu, but it can also pose serious health risks ranging from nausea to respiratory distress.

Storing tofu for longevity

Before purchasing tofu, always check the expiration date. This ensures that you can finish the package of tofu before it expires. Buying tofu with a longer shelf life allows you more flexibility in its usage, and reduces food waste by eliminating the need to throw out food you didn't get around to using. Once you've opened a pack of tofu, you should consume it within 3-5 days. Tofu is a perishable food, and it's best enjoyed when it's still at its peak quality, so be mindful of the expiry timeline and plan your meals accordingly.

If you're not using an entire block of tofu, place the leftovers in fresh, filtered water in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Not only does this prolong tofu's shelf life, but it also helps maintain its moisture and prevents it from drying out. You can change the water daily for maximum freshness, but if the water starts looking murky, it might be time to toss your tofu. Freezing leftovers is another solid option, but it can change the texture of the tofu if you don't properly drain it before cooking.

With proper storage techniques and an eye for spoiled tofu, you don't need to worry about consuming dangerous pathogens or eating a slimy dinner. Happy tofu eating!