VeganMoFo, Day 22: DIY Tofu Jerky and Marinades

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Though there are some yummy varieties of tofu or soy jerky available (Turtle Island’s Tofurky Jurky is my personal favorite), they tend to be rather expensive – and for good reason! When you’re talking dried goods, whether it’s fruit leather or soy jerky, it takes a good amount of raw ingredients to make a dried product.

Consider, for example, these rolls of fruit leather I made:

2008-10-07 - Fruit Leather - 0001

That’s one whole pot of strawberry applesauce, folks!

So there are incredible savings to be had for those veg*ns who are willing to make their own tofu jerky. Plus, the flavors are only limited by your imagination!

The basic process is pretty straightforward:

1. Start out by pressing your tofu (like a vegan mofo, yo!);

2. Then cut it up as desired: you can cube it, slice it into long strips, or something in between. (In the photo below, you can see that I went with stubby strips for today’s recipe.)

3. Next, make your marinade. There are a number of recipes out there – Google, for example, “Tofu Marinade recipe” or “Tofu Jerky recipe” to get started. Some involve liquids, while other marinade ingredients are spice-based.

4. If you really want the tofu to soak up the flavor, you can combine the sliced tofu with the marinade in a Tupperware dish and let it marinate in the fridge overnight. This step is strictly optional, of course.

5. Combine (or transplant) the tofu and marinade into a baking dish and pop it in the oven. The temp will depend on how much tofu you’re cooking; how much of a hurry you’re in; and how dry you want your jerky. The baking temp/time can range from 100 to 300 degrees and 3-10 hours. If you want to play it safe, cook slow and low. It’s hard to burn tofu at 100 degrees! Always cook uncovered; if you want your jerky bone-dry, cook with the oven door slightly open, at least near the end of the cooking cycle.

And, that’s about it. As I type, my tofu jerky is cooking at 300 degrees, and it’s been in there for about 4 hours. I’ve steadily been upping the temp, though – I want this dish done before bedtime! I’m not completely drying the tofu out, though, as this dish is for the dogs. Literally – my babes are spoiled. But if you’re looking to store your jerky for an extended period of time (not something I really recommend, since tofu is available year-round and thus not really worth preserving like, say, home-grown produce), make sure you dry it completely. This means cooking it on low – maybe 100, 125 degrees – all day, and then some. Maybe even with the oven door ajar.

I’ve included some marinade recipes after the jump. These are meant for one brick/pound of tofu, so if you’re baking more, adjust accordingly.

(More below the fold…)