Food has expiration dates on it for a reason. The expiration dates protect us from food that has begun to decay and risk making us sick if we were to eat them.
These dates make it easy to tell, with a glance, if something is safe to eat. But once you remove the food from the package and cook it, it’s no longer easy to tell how long you have to finish a meal.
Tofu is no exception. The package comes with an expiration date on it, but once you cook it, you can’t go by that same date anymore. So how long does tofu last after being cooked, exactly?
Keep reading to find out just how long you have to finish that leftover tofu.
How Long Does Tofu Last After Being Cooked?
Even if you had weeks left before the expiration date on the package, a lot of that time goes out the window once you’ve cooked your tofu. This is because you’ve removed it from its packaging, where it was perfectly sealed and airtight.
That doesn’t mean you’re completely out of time and need to eat all the cooked tofu at once. If you store the tofu properly in your fridge, it should last you for around five days.
Read Also: Does Tofu Go Bad?
How Long Can Cooked Tofu Sit Out?
It happens to the best of us: sometimes, after a busy dinner, you forget to put away the leftovers. You may have went so far as to package them in containers, meaning to put them in the fridge. But the actual act of tucking them away slips your mind.
Then you spot the leftovers hours later and can’t stop yourself from groaning. It feels like such a waste to throw it all away.
If you cook tofu, can it sit out at room temperature for awhile? Unfortunately, the answer is no. At the most, your tofu can sit out for two hours once it’s been cooked. Any longer than that, and the risk for bacterial growth is too great.
This is the case for all perishable foods. After being cooked, they need to be stored as soon as possible to preserve their longevity.
Read Also: Does Tofu Need to be Refrigerated?
How Long Does Tofu Last Once Opened?
How long your tofu can last once it’s been opened depends on how you store it. If you keep it in your fridge, you can expect another 3-7 days out of it.
The best way to keep your tofu for as long as possible is to freeze it. Once frozen, you can anticipate a lifespan of up to six months from it.
What Happens if You Eat Bad Tofu?
Everyone knows about the dangers of eating animal byproducts that have gone bad. Meat is especially notorious for this.
It seems, then, like plant-based staples such as tofu should be less risky. Maybe they don’t even go bad at all, right?
Wrong. Tofu, like all other perishable foods, goes bad eventually. You can tell if it’s gone bad because the seal on the package will balloon out, as if there’s high pressure inside, and it will smell a bit like sweaty feet.
Sometimes, if you open the package, you may also notice that bad tofu will have light greenish-blue mold on it and a slimy texture.
What happens if you decide to take the risk and eat it, anyway? Like with other expired foods, you’re likely to experience various gastrointestinal symptoms, like stomach pain, nausea, or even vomiting.
Tofu might be a vegan darling, but it’s important to eat it when it’s still good. If you wait too long after leaving it out or opening it, you risk making yourself sick. We say this not only because we want you to enjoy the flavor of tofu in its prime, but also for your own safety.