Do you have questions about being vegan? Send them
to Jo using this easy form.
She would be happy to address your individual concerns
as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
practical applications, and living compassionately.
Jo cannot respond to questions about nutrition or
answer questions that have already been addressed in
Jo will make every attempt to answer each question
personally, however, due to her schedule, this may not
be possible. If a reply is forthcoming, it could take
up to a few weeks, so please be patient. It is also
possible that your question will be answered directly
in the "Ask Jo!" column rather than an individual
If you'd like to view previous questions Jo has
answered, visit the Ask Jo! Archives.
I've heard that tofu that is eaten "raw" should be steamed before using.
Why is that?
Tofu that is water-packed is not airtight. Consequently, air and bacteria
are in the package or can easily get into it. Because tofu is a moist,
high-protein food, bacteria are attracted to it and joyfully take up
residence and rapidly proliferate. When tofu is cooked, this foodborne
bacteria is destroyed. However, when tofu is added to a recipe "raw," as in
a tofu salad or spread, the bacteria are alive and well and growing. Many
people who eat "raw" tofu and get gassy or a tummy ache afterwards (or
worse) sometimes think they are allergic or have a sensitivity to tofu.
That's rarely the situation; true food allergies of any kind occur in only
about 1% of the adult population. Typically it is a case of mild food
We cannot see or smell foodborne bacteria, so there is no way to detect it
on "raw" tofu. Most people think that if tofu looks and smells fresh, it's
okay to eat it "raw" -- so they do. When they suffer the consequences, they
usually don't make the connection between bacteria on their tofu and their
To destroy this bacteria, tofu that is to be eaten "raw" should be rinsed
and boiled in fresh water or steamed for 5-10 minutes before using. To
quick-chill it afterward, slice it into slabs and lay it in a single layer
on a stainless steel, glass, or ceramic tray or plate in the refrigerator
or freezer. When it is thoroughly cold to the touch, proceed with your
Tofu that is not water-packed but is already cooked and vacuum sealed or
asepetically packaged does not need to be boiled or steamed before using,
nor does tofu that will be cooked in a recipe. This step is only necessary
for tofu that is water-packed and will not be cooked.
Copyright © 1998-2014 by Jo Stepaniak
All rights reserved.
Nothing on this web site may
be reproduced in any way
without express written permission from the copyright