Q. I bought a block of tofu for a recipe, but I have some left over. I don’t want to throw it out. Can you freeze tofu?
A. Tofu is a simple food to freeze, and can be frozen in large blocks or in ready to cook cubes. Freezing tofu gives it a slightly different colour and a chewier texture, but should not affect the flavour if precautions are taken to avoid freezer burn. Freezing removes the excess water, allowing the tofu to better soak up sauces and marinades, which can result in a more flavourful meal. Tofu that has been frozen may also become crumbly and more difficult to slice. It’s also best to avoid freezing tofu that will be used for smooth recipes like sauces or dips, as the drier texture may no longer work as well.
The simplest way to freeze tofu is simply to drain a package of tofu and quickly pat it dry. Place the block of tofu in a freezer bag and suction out the excess air before sealing and freezing. Label the bag with the date frozen. For added protection against freezer burn, wrap tofu in plastic wrap first before placing in a freezer bag. To use, defrost tofu in the refrigerator for several hours and squeeze out excess water before using.
To avoid having ice form on firm or extra firm tofu due to excess water when freezing, tofu can be drained and pressed first. Remove tofu from package and pour out excess water. Lay tofu on a few layers of paper towels, and then cover the top with more. Press down on the tofu to expel the extra liquid, replacing the paper towels as needed. Place tofu in a freezer bag. Seal the bag, leaving a small opening. Place a straw in the opening, and suction out the excess air before sealing the bag completely. Label with the title and date using a permanent marker.
For the most convenience, cut tofu into cubes. Lay cubes on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Once cubes are firm to the touch, they can be placed in freezer bags and frozen, and they won’t clump together. When thawed, cubes are ready to be added to recipes with no further preparation required except to squeeze out any excess water if necessary.
When properly frozen, tofu can keep in the freezer for up to six months. Once thawed, keep refrigerated and use within a few days.