Tofu

Tofu

It’s not so scary

What is Tofu?

Tofu is soybean curd, made by treating heated soy milk with a coagulant to produce curds. The curds are usually pressed into a block. Tofu has a soft texture and a mild flavor making it useful in many types of cuisine.

Varieties:

Silken tofu ; The traditional Japanese delicacy : the curds are left un-drained and un-pressed. This tofu has a soft, delicate texture, somewhat like custard.

Soft, regular, firm, and extra-firm tofu: The curds can also be pressed to varying degrees of firmness. The firmer the tofu, the better it holds its shape.

Flavored tofu : It may be infused with herbs and spices or sometimes baked or steamed.

( Reduced Fat Tofu is also available)

The History of Tofu

Discovered over 2000 years ago by the Chinese.

Legend claims that tofu was discovered when a Chinese cook combined seaweed nigari to a pot of soybean milk, accidentally causing it to curdle.

It was introduced to Japan in the 8th century but did not become popular until the 17th century.

Tofu was originally called “okabe.” It took on the name Tofu in the 15th century.

As interest in healthier diets increased in the west, tofu gained popularity around the 1960’s in the U.S.

Fun Facts about Tofu

Tofu can take on pretty much any flavor, making it an extremely versatile food.

Tofu can be frozen up to 5 months. Defrosted tofu has a pleasant caramel color and a chewy, spongy texture that soaks up marinade sauces and is great for the grill.

Tofu can be prepared in a huge variety of ways such as in sauces, soups, stir-fries, spring rolls, Japanese dishes, desserts, dairy-free cheesecakes and even smoothies.

Tofu never overpowers. Tofu always compliments.

Tofu is used at Buddhist banquets to imitate meat.

Nutrients in Tofu

Nutritional Value

4.0 oz of Raw Tofu

.14g Tryptophan :an amino acid and essential in human nutrition. It is one of the 20 amino acids in the genetic code.

69 mg Manganese:  important to central-nervous-system function, bone growth, reproduction,helps the body metabolize cholesterol, carbohydrates, and amino acids.

6.08 mg Iron: a component of body systems that are involved in the utilization of oxygen

9.16 g Protein : maintain the functions of the cells and organs

10.09 mcg Selenium: help prevent cellular damage from free radicals.

36 g Omega 3 fatty acids: critical for good health. However, the body cannot make them on its own

22 mg Copper : necessary for iron metabolism, for the formation of the brown pigment, melanin, in hair and skin, and in the functioning of the body’s central nervous system

110.0mg Phosphorus: an important element for many essential processes in the body

100.0mg Calcium: helps your heart, muscles, and nerves function. It is also important for bone health

34.02 mg Magnesium: needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body

Health Benefits of Tofu

Cardiovascular

Soy Protein found in Tofu can lower total cholesterol levels up to 30% and lower bad cholesterol levels up to 35-40%, lower triglyceride levels, reduce blood clots and possibly raise good cholesterol levels.

Menopause

Soy may reduce menopause symptoms.

Phytoestrogens help women’s bodies maintain estrogen levels.

The calcium in Tofu may also help prevent accelerated bone loss during menopause.

How to Buy and Store Tofu

Tofu is available in several different types of packages. In natural foods stores, it is usually in the refrigerator case, often with the dairy foods. In supermarkets, it is usually found in the produce section.

Aseptic-packed tofu is shelf-stable and does not need to be refrigerated until it is opened. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and used within 3 to 4 days.

Water-packed or vacuum-packed tofu should always be kept refrigerated and used by the expiration date. After opening water-packed tofu, rinse before cooking, and change the water daily to keep stored tofu fresh.

Recipe Ideas

Thousands of Tofu Recipes can be found on the internet, try these websites to begin:

http://vegweb.com/recipes/tofu/

http://www.recipegoldmine.com/tofu/tofu.html

http://japanesefood.about.com/library/weekly/aa100801a.htm

http://www.solaeliving.com/soyproteinrecipes/

References

http://www.whfoods.com

http://www.google.com/images

http://www.soyfoods.com/soyfoodsdescriptions/tofu.html

http://en.wikipedia.org


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