Traditionally, tofu is made by soaking, crushing, and cooking soybeans into a soymilk or "slurry," then adding a coagulant (usually calcium sulfate or calcium chloride and GDL). The soymilk coagulates into a large block of tofu that is cut into smaller blocks and packed in water-filled tubs.
Morinaga, however, has brought tofu into the new millennium by inventing a patented "aseptic" system that removes light, air, and bacteria from the picture. In this process, the soybeans are crushed, and the rich slurry is pasteurized and poured into the package. A small amount of gluconolactone and calcium chloride is added to the soymilk. The box is then hermetically sealed and the tofu forms inside - where it is continuously protected from light, air, and microorganisms that cause spoilage. The result? A 100% guaranteed pure product that tastes as fresh as the day it was made.
Yes, you can freeze and thaw Morinaga Silken Tofu to give it a more dense, chewy, and meat-like texture. After freezing at least 48 hours, tofu has a texture similar to a fish filet, chicken breast, or red meat. The instructions on the package "Do Not Freeze" mean that you should not freeze the tofu INSIDE THE PACKAGE ITSELF. The package could swell and burst in the freezer, creating a big mess.
For best freezing results: First remove Morinaga Silken Tofu from the package. Slice lengthwise in 1/4-inch thick strips and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for a few days (at least 24 hours). We recommend preparing and freezing several packages-worth at once. Then you can thaw as needed like frozen cutlets. When you thaw these tofu "cutlets" in the microwave or in warm water, the ice will fall off, leaving a tofu that has a meat-like appearance. Marinate in any thick sauce (like teriyaki, sweet & sour, or barbecue sauce), then broil, bake, or even grill on the BBQ!
The longer Morinaga Silken Tofu is frozen, the better the results will be. However, we do not recommend eating tofu that has been frozen for more than 60 days.
Long ago, the tofu (called "kinugoshi") of the emperor and royal court required special preparation by skilled Japanese artisans. The result was a delicately flavored tofu with a texture so smooth and creamy, it seemed to have been strained through silk.
Today, the texture of silken tofu is generally smoother and creamier and its water content is slightly higher than dense, spongy tub tofu (or "momen" in Japanese). You can use extra firm silken tofu for stir-fry, but you can also blend the firm or soft versions of Morinaga Silken Tofu for creamy and delicious smoothies, shakes, desserts, dips, and sauces. Or crumble the firm tofu into eggless scrambles or pasta fillings.
The "little box" we use (made under a joint patent by Tetra-Pak and Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. of Japan) is better known as the box that holds kids' juices. But it is really a wonder of science. It was voted the "#1 food science innovation of the past 50 years" by the prestigious Institute of Food Technologists in Chicago.
The IFT praises the package because it helps in the "retention of nutrients and flavor" and "protects from bacterial contamination." In short, it locks in the good and locks out the bad. Morinaga is proud to be one of the pioneers in this "Technology of the New Millennium." The landmark Tellus Study found aseptic packaging to be a most "earth friendly" form of packaging. The weight of the package is far less than the weight of the food inside. The package preserves the food entirely so there is no spoilage or waste. The package also does not need to be refrigerated, therefore reducing the use of refrigerants overall.
Morinaga Silken Tofu has a shelf-life of one year. The "best used by" date printed on the package represents one year to the day after it was made. That is, a tofu package marked best used by "DEC 31 12" was made on December 31, 2011. We do not recommend eating any Morinaga products after the "best used by" date.
You do not need to refrigerate Morinaga Silken Tofu until the package is opened. For best results, store in a cool, dry place like your pantry or cupboard.
Original Silken Tofu (Soft, Firm, and Extra Firm) Silken Lite Tofu (Firm) Organic Silken Tofu (Firm) Nigari Tofu
Extra Firm can be used for stir-fry, Firm works well for scramblers and desserts, and Soft is great for dips and smoothies. Lite is mild in flavor and low in calories (30) and fat (only 1 gram) per serving. Use Lite in place of original varieties in any recipe. Blend Lite with Mori-Nu Mates Pudding Mix for irresistible low-fat desserts. Nigari is great for traditional Japanese dishes. Every texture is suitable for an endless list of recipes!
In October 1999, the FDA authorized the use of a health claim on food products like Morinaga Silken Tofu that contain soy protein. Scientific studies show that eating 25 grams of soy protein daily, along with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.
For years university studies have shown a positive connection between the consumption of soyfoods and the reduction of the risk of heart disease and the hardening of arteries. The substitution of vegetable protein (from soybeans) for animal protein can do much to reduce the clogging of our arteries. Not only is soy protein free of any cholesterol itself, it also helps to reduce the cholesterol that has accumulated in our bodies from other sources (mainly from dairy and animal fat). In addition, studies into diabetes have also revealed a positive impact against this disease by substituting the soy protein of tofu for animal proteins.
More studies into sub-nutrients like soy isoflavones have established a strong connection between the consumption of soyfoods and the reduction of the risk of many types of cancer. This research is ongoing -- but it is encouraging to realize that in China, Japan, and all other tofu consuming countries, people suffer only 10% of the cancer and heart disease we suffer from here in the USA. In addition, in Japan, there is no word for the term "hot flash" -- the symptoms of menopause are almost non-existent! So, a serving of tofu or two each day is certainly well advised. Now some studies are even showing that the calcium loss leading to osteoporosis can be reduced with a diet high in soy isoflavones. There's always been a good reason for eating tofu.
Tofu, like all moist protein, is considered to be "potentially hazardous" by the FDA unless it is packaged carefully and kept under refrigeration. In Japan, the tofu is thrown out if it becomes even two or three days old! That's because the Japanese are serious about fresh tofu and they know that spoiled tofu can ruin your whole day.
Here in the United States, tofu is distributed sometimes thousands of miles from where it was made. Even tofu that has been pasteurized at the factory can go bad in transit or on the shelf. That's why Morinaga uses aseptic packaging. We know that this vital food is vulnerable to bacterial contamination and spoilage from contact with light or air. So we use the very best in modern packaging and processing techniques. At our factory, we test every day to ensure each package of Morinaga Silken Tofu is 100% pure and free of bacteria and contaminants. Our long-time customers have learned to trust Morinaga, the Mori-Nu brand, and the tofu we make.
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We hope these answers have been helpful for you!