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Intro to soy

Tofu and soy drink are the most traditional and natural ways of incorporating soy into your diet and both only use the whole soybean. Asians have consumed these as staples in their diet for thousands of years, and the processes still remain the same. Our four generations of tofu making knowledge is being put to good use!

 
 
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What is tofu? How are tofu and soy drink made?

Tofu is made from whole soybeans. Soybeans are similar in size and shape to peas and belong to the legume family. Dried soybeans are tan or beige in colour.

Tofu is often referred to as bean curd because of the process of how it’s made, which is not unlike cheese and its curdling stage. Dried soybeans are soaked in water before they are mashed and cooked at a high temperature. The fibrous residue, called okara, is removed from the resulting mixture along with the whey using a particle remover. The liquid that remains is soy liquid (aka soy drink).

To make tofu, a coagulant is added to the soy liquid to thicken or curdle it. A natural coagulant commonly used is calcium sulfate, a mineral that is cleaned and crushed into a powder. Calcium sulfate has been used for centuries in tofu production. Water is then pressed out of the thickened blocks. The more water that is pressed out, the firmer the tofu.


What does soy drink taste like & how do I cook with it?

Soy drink has a slightly beany taste. With nothing other than water and soybeans (and sometimes a bit of sugar), the purity of Superior’s plain soy drink shines through. Superior soy drinks can easily be substituted anywhere you would normally use dairy drink. They come in unsweetened or sweetened. For breakfast, try using soy drink in cereals or oatmeal, in coffee or tea, or in non-dairy fruit smoothies. Be sure to warm up the soy drink if you pour it into hot beverages – otherwise it may curdle. Soy drink can also be used in baking or cooking as a dairy substitute.

Why do you call it “Soy Drink” not “Soy Milk”?

Canadian-labeling regulations prevents non-dairy products to be called milk on packaging.

What is that film in my soy drink?

Don’t worry. It is in fact, a nutritional benefit!

Each batch of soybeans varies slightly, and as a result, sometimes the protein when heated at a high temperature during soy drink production may form a thin film also referred to as soy drink skin. This film appears only randomly in all of our soy drinks. The soy drink skin is not only edible but also highly nutritious. Referred to as bean curd or yuba, the by-product of soy drink skin is normally dried into sheets. The dried soy drink skin is commonly used in Chinese and Japanese cuisine such as in dim sum dishes as a wrap or in vegetarian dishes to emulate meat.

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storage & handling

Superior soy products must be refrigerated and treated as if you were handling meat or dairy items. Our products do not contain preservatives – instead, they’re pasteurized to maintain freshness. Be sure to pay close attention to the expiry dates on the packaging. These dates only refer to unopened packages, which have not been subject to temperature abuse.

How long can you store tofu?

When refrigerated, tofu is good for approximately 3-5 days after opening.

How do I know if my tofu has spoiled?

If the tofu package is bloated, the product has spoiled.
The tofu will also smell sour or fishy.

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Water-Pack Tofu
Fresh/Smooth/Northern Style:

Store unused portions in clean water. Change the water daily to keep tofu fresh for longer.

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Asian Classics, Organic Extra Firm & Pressed:
Store unused portions in a resealable container or cover with plastic wrap.

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Soft Tofu & Soy Desserts:
Store unused portions in their original container and cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a resealable container. Before storing, drain excess water, as more water will be released over time due to its high water content.

 

How do I open a package of tofu?

Our packaging is not easy-peel as it protects the tofu from tampering and spoilage. Simply open the package by cutting around the edges with a sharp knife, then drain the water.

The remaining types of tofu are vacuum-packed and can be opened with a knife or scissors.

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How long can you store soy drink?

After opening, our soy drink is good for 5 days.

Why does it go bad so fast after opening?

Because we don’t use any preservatives, like any other fresh food product it spoils quickly even when refrigerated.

How can I tell my soy drink has gone bad?

You can tell your soy drink has gone bad if it has a sour smell or if you can see it has curdled and separated into clumps.

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Example of tofu that has been frozen.  By J. Samuel Burner [CC BY 2.0 ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0 )], via Wikimedia Commons

Example of tofu that has been frozen.
By J. Samuel Burner [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Can I freeze tofu?

Only firmer varieties of tofu can be frozen. Wrap the unused portion in plastic wrap or place the whole package in the freezer. Once frozen, the tofu takes on a spongier, more porous texture similar to meat. Some people deliberately freeze firmer varieties of tofu, such as Superior’s Extra Firm Tofu, to create an even chewier, meatier texture.

The tofu will turn slightly yellow-beige in colour. Once frozen, it can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. After the tofu has been defrosted, drain or squeeze out any excess water.

You can also freeze cooked tofu dishes such as pasta sauces or chili. Again, the tofu will take on a more porous texture. Once refrigerated, dressings and dips made with tofu will thicken slightly. Simply re-blend before serving.

Softer and dessert varieties of tofu should not be frozen due to their high water content.

Can I freeze soy drink?

No, soy drink should not be frozen due to its high water content. The water and soy will separate and the texture once thawed is no longer smooth.

 
 

types of tofu

Not all tofu is created equal. Different types of tofu vary in textures, density and ingredients. As a result, there are different uses for each tofu, as well as different storage/handling requirements. The key thing to remember is the firmer the tofu the longer you can cook it.

 
 
Extra Firm or Pressed Tofu

Extra Firm & Pressed Tofu
Pressed Tofu is firmer than Extra Firm. Generally speaking, the two types can be used interchangeably.

Cooking Methods
Deep fry, Stir-fry, Bake, Grill, Stew, Crumble (substitute for ground meat)

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Medium Firm Tofu
Medium has a softer texture than Extra Firm but more firm than Soft.

Cooking Methods
Stir-fry, Bake, Stew, Purée, Steam, Hot Pot, Crumble

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Soft & Silken Tofu
This type of tofu is not drained and pressed like other tofu. It breaks apart very easily.

Cooking Methods
Purée, Steam, Stew, Hot Pot Blend into – sauces, smoothies, dips

 

Tofu has a very subtle, beany taste. Since tofu doesn’t have a lot of flavour on its own, it is an ideal culinary chameleon that can be disguised in any dish. Like a sponge, tofu soaks up and absorbs the flavour of the ingredients you’re cooking with.

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Soy substitutions

Whether you’re lactose intolerant or just trying to cut down on your dairy and egg intake, you can count on Superior Natural to show you the way. Our softer varieties of tofu make an ideal dairy or egg substitute in recipes which call for the actual thing. Soy products are cholesterol-free and a source of high-quality protein containing all essential amino acids!

 
 
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Milk

Purée one package of Soft Tofu in a blender or food processor with 1 1/2 cups of water. Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups of dairy-free milk substitute. Use in place of cream or milk in soups or rich creamy dishes. Replace regular dairy milk with Superior Soy Drinks – ratio is 1:1.

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Egg

Replace one egg with 1/4 cup of Soft Tofu or Smooth Medium Firm Tofu, well drained and puréed. Egg substitution may require you to experiment with recipes and adjust ratios. Certain recipes will work with 1/4 cup of tofu in lieu of 2 eggs, depending on the moisture of the finished product. Use in baking and other recipes.

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Cream Cheese

Use 3/4 cup Organic Medium Firm or Fresh Medium Firm Tofu, well drained and mashed. Purée in a blender or food processor with 1 tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice and 1/8 cup soft margarine. Add herbs, minced garlic and finely chopped tomatoes to create a savory flavoured soy cream cheese spread. Makes 1 cup.

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Yogurt

Use 1 cup of Soft Tofu, well drained. Blend into smoothies, parfaits and dips.

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Sour Cream

Use one package of Soft or Silken Tube Tofu. Purée in a food processor or blender with 2-4 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt and 3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil. Dress up your homemade soy sour cream with finely chopped parsley or chives. A great cholesterol-free topping on potatoes, tacos and nacho chips. Makes 1 cup.

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Ricotta Cheese

Use 1 cup of Smooth Medium Firm or Fresh Tofu. Drain well and then mash. Use in dips and pasta dishes.

 
 

why should you press your tofu?

 
 
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Why press tofu?

Tofu has high water content and after pressing tofu it will absorb more flavor and stand up to heat better. However, it is not always necessary to do this.

Which kind of tofu needs to be pressed?

Medium Firm Tofu is the only kind that should be pressed. Our pressed and extra firm tofu have already been pressed enough. When deep frying firm tofu, pat down the outside with a paper towel. IMPORTAN NOTE: Never press soft tofu unless you want a squashed mess!

How do I press my tofu?

When preparing a recipe that requires Medium Firm tofu to be pressed, use a cheesecloth or paper towels to soak up the liquids. The easiest way to press tofu is by placing a cheesecloth or paper towel on a plate, then place the tofu and another layer of cloth (or paper towel). Finally stack another plate on top and put something heavy to add pressure to expel additional water. The time you let it sit depends on however dry the recipe calls for. The average is about 20 minutes.

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health benefits
of soy

Two of the most common reasons for consuming tofu and soy drink are because of lactose intolerance, and as a protein alternative.

North Americans are becoming increasingly interested in soy foods – and for good reason.

 
 
(4) Nutrition data sourced from the  Government of Canada

(4) Nutrition data sourced from the Government of Canada

 
* Only our carton Unsweetened & Sweetened Soy Drinks are fortified (4) Nutrition data sourced from the  Government of Canada

* Only our carton Unsweetened & Sweetened Soy Drinks are fortified
(4) Nutrition data sourced from the Government of Canada

Protein Alternative

  • Tofu is often easier for the body to digest than animal protein

  • Contains all essential amino acids¹, unlike other meat alternatives

  • Inexpensive and provides calcium and iron for the body

  • All our tofu is cholesterol free and relatively low in calories, saturated fats, and sodium

  • Replacing high fat animal foods and dairy products with soy foods can be heart healthy²

¹ FDA - Protein Information

² Dietitians of Canada


Benefits

Soy contains a variety of phytochemicals and active compounds:

  • Isoflavones: a group of phytoestrogens that includes genistein, daidzein and glycitein

  • Saponins: studies suggest these compounds may lower blood cholesterol, protect against cancer and affect blood glucose levels

  • Phenolic Acids: this group of phytochemicals is being studied for their potential to stop cancer cells from spreading

  • Phytic Acid: commonly found in cereals and legumes, it can act as an antioxidant

  • Enzyme-regulating proteins: these include protease inhibitors and protein kinase inhibitors

  • Sphingolipids: they seem to play a role in regulating cell growth, self-destruction of abnormal cells and progression of tumors

Benefits information is from American Institute for Cancer Research

How much soy should I consume if I want to reap its health benefits?

There’s no such thing as a miracle food. Though there is evidence towards soy foods having possible disease preventing qualities, other factors have to be considered, such as one’s medical history, age, exercise, and general health and diet. The US Food and Drug Administration states that 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.³

³ FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21


Is it possible to consume too much soy in my diet?

Moderate consumption is 1 to 2 standard servings daily of whole soy foods. Examples of standard serving sizes are 1/3 cup tofu, 1 cup milk soy milk, 1/2 cup edamame and 1 oz. soy nuts. (One serving averages about 7 grams of protein and 25 mg isoflavones.) Studies have demonstrated up to 3 servings a day does not link to increased breast cancer risk.

Above paragraph is from American Institute for Cancer Research


What kind of soybeans does Superior Natural use in their soy products?

We only uses top quality, non-GMO soybeans in all of our products. All supplied soybeans come with certification that they are of non-GMO status. Our organic line of tofu products uses certified organic soybeans and comes with certification from an independent body.