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How to Freeze Tofu

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If you’re looking for a pleasing chewy, spongy texture and a sponge for flavorful liquids, frozen tofu is the way to go. Prior to learning that it’s just…frozen tofu, I assumed it was some kind of special tofu product. D’oh!

The frozen tofu is still an excellent product, but know that you can prepare it at home with minimal effort and no need to visit the freezer section. Tofu can be frozen, and here’s how and why.

Why Freeze Tofu

Tofu’s texture changes dramatically when frozen, becoming thicker and spongier with hundreds of tiny holes like coral reefs. Even though I don’t want to ruin the fun, this wizardry is actually a matter of basic physics: When tofu is frozen, the water in it expands, causing the original structure to be destroyed. During the thawing process, water seeps out of the pores made by the ice crystals. We’ve created a tofu star with a whole new consistency.

Benefits of Frozen Tofu

As a result of this shift in tofu consistency, it becomes stronger, firmer, and spongier at the same time. This keeps its shape better in stir-fries, hot pots, or soups and is less likely to disintegrate when cooked. When water is drained from the tofu, it takes on a firmer texture with a satisfying bite—some would even compare it to meat.

Also, the holes are great places to store and absorb flavors—like a sponge, frozen tofu is excellent at absorbing sauces and broths. While tofu will keep for weeks in the fridge, it will keep considerably longer in the freezer since freezing preserves its freshness.

Steps to Freeze Tofu

The process of making frozen tofu at home is quite simple. It’s as simple as slicing full blocks of tofu (any kind works, but be careful with silken tofu) (big or small cubes, thick or thin planks).

Place them in a freezer-safe container or bag or on a sheet tray with care. Defrosting one serving at a time is easier when you divide the tofu into individual servings (either by using separate bags or containers and layering with plastic wrap) rather than defrosting the entire package at once.

It’s done when your pieces are frozen firm, which should take 4–6 hours. There is nothing to be concerned about if they’ve gone yellow.

It’s not necessary to defrost pre-cut frozen tofu before using because the pieces are already broken up, but some people prefer to avoid diluting their broth by thawing their tofu before using it in other ways. Tofu can be defrosted in a variety of ways, including by placing it in the refrigerator overnight or by running water over it.

How Long Does Frozen Tofu Last in the Freezer?

Tofu that has been frozen on a baking sheet can be stored in the freezer for up to a year if properly packed.

What Dishes Can I Use Frozen Tofu?

Braising, marinating, or simply adding frozen tofu to soups are all excellent uses for this versatile ingredient. A hot pot spread would be incomplete without it, in my humble opinion.

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