So what is tofu anyway?
You know those little green edamame pods we all love snacking on? Well, tofu is not made from those (those are little baby soybeans), but wait a while longer and they will mature out of their green phase, making them ripe for a life as a delicious block of tofu. The soybeans in tofu team up with anti-oxidants and these protein packed cubes have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of cardio vascular diseases. Soybean based protein, like tofu, is one of the few plant based proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids we need to stay healthy. If being a complete protein isn’t enough reason for you to give tofu a try then consider the following:
House Foods Tofu is also:
- Made from 100% US soybeans
- Non-GMO verified
- Gluten-free certified
- Kosher certified
- Cholesterol free, with virtually no unsaturated fats
- Rich in minerals (calcium and iron)
- Easy to prepare
- Tasty in a wide variety of dishes (including: sweet, spicy, savory, sour)
- Climbing the ladder of popular mainstream foods
Tofu is as old as the Romans, The Great Wall and the first Peruvian clay pots! It was first seen in China and the most widely accepted theory maintains that it was developed by Liu An, a Han Dynasty prince who lived in Northern China from 179 BC to 122 BC. Since then, we have switched production from Chinese royalty to modern machinery, but we think it tastes better this way!
It’s a good thing China didn’t give away their not-so-secret tofu recipe because tofu has come back in style again and again since its Asian origination. We at House Foods are happy to say that while we have mechanized our process, we have weaved within it some traditional tofu production methods.
1. Soybeans Selection
The first step is acquiring the soybeans. It’s very hard to be a House Foods soybean because we only use Non-GMO (non-genetically engineered) soybeans grown in the U.S. (House Foods became Non-GMO Project verified in 2012, meaning our verified products comply with the Non-GMO Project Standard.) So you see, not just any bean can be a House Foods soybean.
Those beans that make it through our acquisition process go on to our soaking round and spend the next 10 to 13 hours in a tank filled with water.
After a prescribed amount of water is added to the soybeans, they are ground to slurry (a thin mixture of an insoluble substance) in order to make the extraction of protein easy. The mashed soybeans are then ready to proceed to the next step.
To make protein extraction even easier, the ground soybeans are heated. This heating process eliminates soybean odor while pasteurizing the slurry and allowing for a better coagulation of proteins.
In the filtration phase, only the smoothest survive and the rest of the solid matter and soy pulp are sent packing.
The result of filtration is soymilk which must then begin a transformation during the coagulation phase. It becomes a thickened mass when mixed with calcium salt and other coagulants. (Complex explanation: this combination allows the ions such as calcium to work to combine soybean protein with another, resulting in the coagulation of soymilk into curd form).
6. Forming and Cutting
These tofu curds are broken up and can finally relax in a cloth-lined box. They are then pressed in order to eliminate excess water. The harder we press the tofu curds, the tougher they get resulting in your varying House Foods tofu firmness levels.
(We make soft/silken tofu by coagulating thicker soymilk, not by pressing)
7. Packaging and Labeling
Once these sheets of pressed tofu are cut up, they are distributed into convenient packages filled with water.
The package label is thermally sealed and the tofu sits in a bed of clean water. After expiration dates are printed on the packaging, the tofu is pasteurized in a boil-cool pasteurizing machine.
It continuously heats the tofu, followed by an immediate cooling process. This makes it so that you can enjoy our special soy products for a long period of time. It may be tough to be a House Foods soybean, but the product is well worth the process!