Tofu can be stored in fridge or freezer to extend the shelf life, but is tofu still ok to eat after expiration date. Sell by and expiration dates are misleading, so let’s discuss the longevity of expired tofu.
How long does tofu last after expiration? Unopened tofu may last a week passed the best-by date indicated on the packaging.
In general, tofu often has a sell-by date on the packaging instead of an expiration date. Further indicating that it has not expired, and may remain fresh for much longer.
Factors that affect how long tofu stays good for include wether or not the package is opened or remain sealed, the cooking or preparation method used, and the method of storage. If tofu is not properly handled, or if it isn’t kept cold, it may go bad faster.
Even after the label date has lapsed, refrigerated tofu should still be safe to eat when kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius. Before eating, always check if the tofu has gone bad by looking for a slimy appearance or smelling a sour odor.
This article discuss about expiration date of tofu and tips for saving tofu to achieve the best results. Answered below are frequently asked questions about tofu gina beyond the expiration date from a food safety perspective.
Does tofu expire?
Yes, tofu does expire. The most important factor in regards to how long tofu lasts is the method of storage, and whether or not the packaging has been opened.
Generally, tofu that has not been opened, and has been kept cold will last much longer than after the seal has been broken. When tofu is stored well and remains unopened, it can last for about two months after the date of production.
Tofu packages do not typically have an expiration date, instead they have a sell-by date. The date indicated by the brand manufacturer shows the recommendation for peak freshness when the tofu is safe to eat.
On average, tofu lasts a week longer than indicated by the sell-by date on its packaging. Before proceeding any further, understand that a majority of date labels are not based on exact science.
Manufactures provided date labels as a means to help customers and retailers determine the best quality of food. Moreover, label dating is not at all related to conditions of food safety and freshness.
If the tofu has been stored in the refrigerator, and is unopened, it is typically safe to eat up to a week after the sell-by date. But if the tofu has been kept in the freezer, it may last up to two months beyond the date indicated on the packaging
Once tofu has been opened, it only lasts 3-5 days before going bad. Therefore, if the intention is to store tofu for a long time, leftover tofu should be frozen immediately.
How long can you eat tofu after the expiration date?
Unopened packages of fresh tofu stored in the refrigerator are safe to eat for a week beyond the best-by date. Tofu kept in the freezer may last for 2 months passed the printed date on the packaging.
Tofu can be eaten after the expiration date, but only if it has been stored properly. Tofu does not last forever, and will eventually go bad whether it’s been opened, left unopened, or fully cooked.
Once you open tofu, eat within 3-5 days to avoid signs of the curd going bad. When tofu is kept too long, it will grow harmful bacteria that may cause food borne illness.
How long does tofu last unopened?
Unopened packages of fresh tofu stored in the refrigerator may last for a week after the sell-by date. And unopened tofu kept in the freezer may last for 2 months past the official date printed on the label.
Both silken and regular tofu have the same expiration date for when storing in the fridge or freezer.
Once you open a package of tofu, it needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer, and when refrigerated it will go bad in 3-5 days.
Furthermore, avoid leaving tofu at room temperature more than 2 hours where it can develop harmful bacteria the potentially leads to food poisoning. Tofu is a perishable food item that goes bad if left in the temperature danger zone of 40℉ to 140℉ for longer than 2 hours.
Does tofu go bad after opening?
Yes, tofu will only last 3-5 days after opening before it goes bad.
Any leftover tofu that you aren’t using immediately should be stored in the fridge and consumed within 3 to 5 days. If you aren’t going to eat the leftovers within a few days, consider freezing for further longevity.
When determining if the tofu has gone bad, check the appearance of sliminess, discoloration or sour and pungent smells.
How long does tofu last in water?
Unopened containers of tofu in water will last about one week after the sell-by date if stored in the refrigerator. Frozen tofu in water may last about 2 months after the label date.
Opened containers of tofu stored in water can last for about 3-5 days in the fridge. Ensure the water is not salted, instead it should be cold filtered water, and fill the container with water so the tofu is fully submerged.
Storing tofu without water
Do not store tofu without water unless the bean curd has been cooked, seasoned or fully prepared. If you drained the water from the tofu container and want to keep leftovers, then refill the container with filtered water to keep it moist.
When meal prepping and accidentally drained all liquid that is in the tofu box, you may wonder how to store the remaining tofu.
Once you have cooked or otherwise prepared the tofu, store it as is. Leftover tofu that was not prepared should be submerged with fresh filtered water and sealed in an airtight container inside the fridge.
Tofu that you aren’t planning to eat immediately needs to be kept in the fridge, and should last about 3-5 days.
The water will keep tofu moisture and prevent from drying out. Whens storing tofu without any liquid, it may last a few days but it will be extremely dried out.
You may decide to store the tofu inside the original packaging as long as it can be resealed. Tofu should be fully submerged in water and kept in an airtight container inside the fridge.
If you buy multiple packages of tofu at a time, keep any that you don’t intend to use in the freezer for even longer term storage.
How to tell tofu is terrible?
The following are key areas to look at when determining whether the tofu is terrible, or has gone bad.
- Appearance: Tofu that has gone bad will start to turn yellow or beige, it may have become a darker color, or you may see spots on it. These spots are mold, and indicate it needs to be thrown out immediately. The texture of tofu that has gone bad may also have changed, appear curdled or have a slimy or gooey film on the surface or in the water.
- Smell: Expired tofu may have a sour, rotten, or even spicy smell. Fresh tofu has a very mild, almost undetectable smell.
- Package: If the package has become inflated, this is result of fermentation and the bacteria from the tofu going bad inside of the package.
- Texture: When tofu is very soft, slimy or sticky, this indicate that the tofu has been sitting around for while.
- Mold: On the surface of the tofu is easy place to spot mold. To avoid mold, refrigerate the tofu immediately after purchasing.
What does expired tofu smell like?
Expired tofu will start to smell sour or rotten, and may have a slimy and gooey texture. If you detect a sour smell, it means that the tofu has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat.
If you don’t notice a funky appearance or smell, try to taste a little bit to see if the expired tofu still tastes fresh. If it tastes sour, rotten or bitter, that is an indication that it has gone bad and should be thrown out.
Fresh tofu tastes mild, and somewhat sweet, creamy and buttery. Any sour or bitter flavors indicate that there is harmful bacteria present and it is no longer safe to eat.
Expired Tofu: Conclusion
Just like any perishable foods, tofu also has an expiration date. There is wiggle room for every food as to when it actually goes bad, and this is the same for tofu as well.
Unopened tofu lasts an extra week after expiration date on the packaging when kept in refrigeration. Storing in the fridge below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is the best way to extend the label date.
Opened tofu only lasts for 3-5 days before it goes bad. It is not recommended to store without water, so refill the container with fresh filtered water before resealing and refrigerating.
Fresh tofu doesn’t smell bad. Any changes in the appearance or smell of the tofu may be from bacteria that potentially cause food poisoning.
If you are not sure if the tofu has gone bad from the look or odor, you can take a small bite to see if there is any evidence of a sour or rotten taste. Once tofu has gone bad, it needs to be discarded immediately or it may lead to food borne illness.
Expiration dates are not a determining factor for when tofu goes bad. The bean curd may last a week beyond the label date when refrigerated, or up to 2 months longer when frozen.