Choosing and Storing Tofu

Soft, firm and extra-firm tofu are not only a delicious source of protein but also provide the basis for everything from sauces to stirfries and scrambles. Shefaly Ravula demystifies the most common types of tofu and offers tips on how to use and store them. She demonstrates how to make an orange dream silken smoothie. Once you have the technique down, customize this creamy treat with your choice of fruits, protein powder or flavorings.

Find more Co+op Kitchen videos featuring information and easy recipes for making delicious meals at home, as well as handy hints from chefs and food enthusiasts who love sharing their passion for great food.

Video Transcript

Hi there. I'm Shefaly from Shef's Kitchen. Today I want to talk to you about tofu, and what it really is, and how to go about choosing the right tofu for your needs in a particular dish.

Now tofu is a very healthy product. It's high in protein. It's nutritious. It's low fat. And it actually has some calcium and magnesium and iron as well.

Types of tofu

Silken tofu

The texture is the key to determining which tofu you want. Here we have a block of silken, or soft tofu. It's quite jiggly, as you can see. The reason you would choose silken tofu is that it is a great cream substitute. It's often used in puddings and mousses. And it's vegan and non-dairy.

Firm tofu

Here we have firm tofu. I'll use it when I want irregular shapes of tofu in my dish. So, if I'm having something like scrambled eggs, I may want to use this, if I don't want to use eggs, and I'll have a nice, varying consistency of the crumbles. So, this is something I could pick up in my hand and just crumble into a dish.

Extra firm tofu

And this one over here is extra firm, which is quite dense, as you can see in the texture right here. It's used more often than the other two, I would say, because people tend to use tofu in stir-fries and want their tofu pieces to be uniform and hold their shape very well. People will use extra-firm tofu when they want something that's going absorb very well—where there's a lot of sauce, and the sauce can get into the tofu.

I recommend releasing the moisture out. So, I'm going to take a heavy pot like this one, or you can take a baking sheet and put heavy cans, canned goods on it. Anything to give it a lot of weight. Let that sit on that block of tofu 20 to 30 minutes, even a couple of hours—whatever you've got.

Frozen tofu

Here we have some frozen tofu. It permanently changes. Once you freeze it, it's always going to be like this. It's very spongy. It is very absorbent. It's a great way to use all this leftover tofu, and it will last for a long time.

Storing tofu

Another way to think about storing your tofu, if you don't want to freeze it, is to go ahead and put it in a container with some fresh water. Make sure it's airtight, and keep it in your refrigerator. And you'll want to change the water every day to keep that tofu fresh and usable.

Orange Dream Silken Smoothie 

All right, we're going to try a tofu smoothie. I call it my orange dream silken smoothie.

Silken for the tofu—we're going to put in about a quarter cup. And then, some almond milk. I use unsweetened almond milk just because I have sweetness coming in from my ripe bananas, so I don't need extra sugar.

Then we have these frozen bananas. Overripe bananas that I have sitting around, I'll peel them, I'll slice them, or break them, even, and just pop them in a zip-lock bag and stick them in my freezer ready to go for any smoothie.

And then we have a little bit of orange juice. About a half cup. I'm going to start with about that much.

Just pop that on your base. Give it a good whirl. And there we go. Now it is going to seem thin for a smoothie to some people. That is completely customizable.

So, I like these thin because I want to actually be able to sip them with a straw. Mmm. That's really good.

I'm Shefaly for Co+op, stronger together.