Grains & Legumes
Season for Tofu Available Year Round
Tofu - widely regarded as fodder for vegetarians and falsely accused of being bland - actually has chameleon-like qualities and easily takes on the flavors of your favorite dishes. Think of it more as neutral yet extremely absorbent and one of the most versatile foods. Also known as soybean curd and bean curd, tofu is made from curdled soy milk in a process similar to cheesemaking, generally coming in rectangular blocks. This asian staple has a smooth and creamy texture and sometimes a slightly-nutty flavor.
How to Buy and Store Tofu
You'll find tofu in either the refrigerated section or in aseptically-sealed containers at your grocery store. Let the expiration dates be your guide. For the aseptically-packaged tofu, you don't need to refrigerate it until you've opened the package. Keep all other tofu refrigerated in their container at all times. Once their packages are open, all types should be rinsed well and kept in a container covered with water (the tofu should be fully submerged). You may want to change the water daily to keep the tofu freshest - for up to a week. For an extra-chewy, meaty texture, you can freeze your tofu.
How to Cook Tofu
Tofu comes in a variety of textures - those being soft, firm and extra-firm. Soft tofu has a smoother texture and is therefore better suited for salad dressings, sauces, dips, pâtés, smoothies and desserts. You can also make the famed tofu scramble with your favorite veggies and some turmeric to make it egg-like in color. Firm and extra-firm tofu works well in baking, stir-frying and grilling. Firm tofu is best used as a meat substitute and goes great on the barbecue. You can also keep it tradtional and make a superstar miso soup.
Health Benefits of Tofu
It's true; soy products seem to have been thrown under the bus a little bit lately. But we think tofu is a healthful, protein-rich food that has been shown to prolong life. Studies reveal tofu can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and estrogen balance while preventing colon, breast and prostate cancer, among other benefits. Why the bad rap then? We think you should consider two things when it comes to tofu: Purchase those made from organically-grown soybeans, and eat it in moderation. In countries like Japan where tofu is eaten a little bit at time, it's found to provide vast health benefits. In our culture, where we think tofu is a viable alternative to every kind of meat, ounce-for-ounce, moderation seems to fly out the window.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Tofu
As tofu is a soya product, keep in mind that the majority of conventionally-grown soybeans in the United States come from genetically-modified (GM) seeds - without even taking into account the pesticides that are sprayed on conventional soy. If you're like us, you like to minimize your exposure to GM foods: Choose tofu made from organically-grown soybeans, for the current USDA regulations don't allow GM seeds to be used in crops that are labeled as organic.