Unitasker Wednesday: The Pressto! tofu water extractor

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

This week’s unitasker had to be explained to me because I didn’t know what it was — the Pressto! tofu water extractor:

Those of you, like me, who regularly consume tofu might be thinking that this is a device to make homemade tofu. It’s not. Well, at least, that’s not how it is being marketed. The purpose of the four-piece Pressto! appliance is to get as much water out of your store-bought tofu as possible. From the product description:

The Pressto! is a compact kitchen device that squeezes the water out of a block of tofu and lets you quickly dice the tofu into small, easy-to-cook cubes in just seconds. Out with the watery stir-fry, the wasted paper towels, and the messy kitchen counters … in with the Pressto! We’re talking less water, more flavor.

Unfortunately (fortunately?), this device hasn’t yet hit the market. So, those of us who regularly eat tofu will just have to continue removing water the easy way by setting the tofu down on a towel or cloth napkin. You can remove water from your tofu “like the pros,” too, without this device.

Thanks to reader Jacki for bringing this unitasker to our attention.

32 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: The Pressto! tofu water extractor”

  1. posted by Ruth Hansell on

    Tofu has a flavor? Not the tofu I’ve eaten. And a lot of the water in stir fry comes from the veggies and it steams off in the, what do you call it, oh YEAH _ the Stir Frying Process.

    What a world.

    Ruth

  2. posted by MPC on

    I find that just setting tofu on a towel doesn’t get out enough of the water for me, so I wrap the block in a towel, put it between two plates and stick a cast-iron pan on top for about 10 minutes. Works great.

  3. posted by Jodie on

    I have something similar called the Tofu express. I used to have to set up two plates, a cast iron skillet and half a roll of paper towels to get all the water out of tofu- when you press it adequately, it will reduce in size by more than half. I know it seems like a joke, but for us vegetarians and vegans, this device saves our kitchens from becoming a huge mess. Lying a plate on top of a block of tofu just isn’t adequate for getting all the water out.

  4. posted by Erica on

    I have a spring loaded tofu press (TofuXpress) and I love it! It works 1000 x better than pressing with a towel/ pan.

    I agree most unitaskers are silly but I wouldn’t trade my tofu press in for anything.

  5. posted by Rosa on

    This thing is bigger (and made out of way more plastic) than the press I have for *making* tofu.

  6. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jodie and @Erica — The TofuXpress is an awesome multi-tasker because you can also MAKE tofu in it. I know a lot of people who use theirs as a form. But this device, according to its marketing at least, isn’t nearly as versatile and significantly larger.

  7. posted by Jonathan on

    I used to press my tofu under a phone book, but I decluttered and no longer have a phone book.

  8. posted by Lose That Girl on

    Wow. Something so vast for something so… tasteless. Sorry, can’t stand the stuff.

  9. posted by Jessiejack on

    “Tofu has a flavor? Not the tofu I’ve eaten”
    @ Ruth – thanks for the laugh!

  10. posted by deborah on

    Why are people pressing their tofu? Most asian markets have different types of tofu with different water content. Also, fresh tofu is a delight.

  11. posted by amandalee on

    I’d love something to press my tofu, but yeah, this is kind of big for a unitasker. Maybe I’ll look into the TofuXPress like Jodie and Erica suggested. Doubt I’d ever make tofu from scratch, but this is way easier than balancing the tofu between a plate and a serving bowl of water.

  12. posted by Patti on

    I’ll pass on the tofu too kthanx, but that reminds me of my tea bag squeezer unitasker– it’s basically a pair of tongs with 1 solid plate + 1 sieve plate and looks like this: http://www.thehomemarketplace......g11920.asp. I ONLY have the tongs though; NOT the holder.

    It doesn’t take up much space (lives in the utensil drawer), is manual rather than electric (hey that latter might be a get-rich-quick scheme for me :)), and I do use it daily because it keeps me from having to fish the HOT tea bag out with my hands. The leverage also enables me to squeeze more water/tea out of it.

  13. posted by Anita on

    I’m with those who don’t find any flavour in tofu, though my lovely Asian boyfriend is trying to convince me otherwise.

    As for the press, I second deborah’s question — why not get tofu with less water content from the start?

  14. posted by Shana on

    So what I’m getting is that a lot of commenters think tofu is icky. We veggies/vegans, at less than 4% of the total population, are both shocked and fascinated by this assessment (as well as by the fact that omnis have nothing to add besides “ew, tofu!”). Yay for judgey ignorance in lieu of saying something with relevance or merit. Next time I see some Unitasker for cooking meat, I’ll be sure to add my “I don’t have anything to say but ‘meat, gross!'” and am sure it’ll be seen as really adding to the discussion.

  15. posted by Naomi on

    I love this feature and normally agree with you, Erin, but this is the first Unitasker I actually want to try!

    Squeezing water out of tofu can be messy and time-consuming. Here’s the way I’ve always done it:

    1. Pat tofu as dry as possible and put on a dinner plate.

    2. Put another dinner plate on top of tofu.

    3. Stack heavy books (the Complete Works of Shakespeare works well) on top of the second plate. Wait 10 minutes or so, carefully remove books, carry tofu to sink and empty water from plate.

    4. Repeat two or three times until tofu is as dry as possible.

    Tofu can be really good — and good for you — when properly prepared. If you prepare something flavorful, the tofu will be flavorful, too.

  16. posted by ninakk on

    This is as silly as the egg and rice cookers.

  17. posted by leonie on

    @ ninakk

    rice cookers are awesome. I have a zojirushi that cooks oatmeal (for my 5am breakfast), steams veggies, and cooks a variety of rice ahead of time for my busy days.

  18. posted by Joke on

    A bit off-topic, but if anyone has good directions on marinating tofu, I’d love to know!

    And I think a tofumaker would be great, this device on the other hand is just too big for what it does…

  19. posted by Cathy on

    Huh, I’m gonna have to look into the TofuXpress thingy mentioned above. I’m an omnivore, but I love to cook with tofu on a regular basis and I’d get a lot of use out of it. Hmm…

  20. posted by Cathy on

    …and to those saying tofu has no flavor? Ha! You obviously haven’t eaten my cooking…

  21. posted by L. on

    I buy extra firm tofu (the kind with the least water content) for stir fries, but it still needs to be pressed to remove additional water. (I often “batter” it in cornstarch and fry it to give it a crispy exterior.) I’ve always done it on top of a plastic cutting board, with something small under one end to create a bit of a slant, and the lower end over the sink; then a smaller cutting board on top, weighted down by a 28-oz can of tomatoes. It’s messy and the can is always falling off. So I would consider something like this, and–since I’d never heard of a tofu press–was interested to see it. I like the sound of the Tofu Xpress better, though.

    Tofu has a very faint taste–one which I like a lot, though! If prepared right, it’s a great addition to adish. As a 95% vegetarian household, we eat it a lot.

  22. posted by megan on

    My body does not like tofu–I used to eat it quite a bit, but had something like hot flashes after eating. They stopped altogether when I stopped eating tofu (end of the last century). I’m an omnivore, so could find other things to eat, no worries.

    My vegan friend visited me a few weeks back, and I found a place that makes tofu about 10 minutes away from me. I like to support local businesses as I’m able and picked up 2 lb of freshly made tofu.

    My friend made an awesome stir-fry from it. Yummo! But I had the hot flash thingy again, so it must stay on my Can’t Eat This list.

    We didn’t need to press the fresh stuff. Not one bit.

  23. posted by Sana on

    That looks a lot like the tofu presses (for making tofu) that are sold for household use in Japan. I know that’s not what they’re selling it for, but it could be used to make tofu or cheese. Of course all you need for either of those is a pot with something heavy on it, so…

    Here in Japan we usually eat tofu with meat, very tasty!

    @megan
    You might be allergic to soy.

  24. posted by Zora on

    The TofuXpress looks very much like my Japanese pickling box. Container, and a pressplate with a spring that locks into place on the top of the container.

    The pickling box, however, is the wrong size for the tofu, plus the holes in the pressplate are a little large. I’ll be looking for this TofuXpress when I have the money to spare.

  25. posted by finallyettingtoeven.com on

    I roll my tofu in a towel and then place a heavy object on top and leave it lying on the counter for 20 mins or so. Then all the water is in the towel, i hang up to dry in the laundry room and wash til next time.

    I LOVE my rice cooker and couldn’t do without it. I steam veggies and rice constantly and everything comes out perfect every time. It’s summer now so the rice cooker goes out on the back patio every day so that the house doesn’t fill up with warm steam (excellent for winter, not so good for summer).

  26. posted by Ann on

    a quick, easy marinade for tofu

    1 tablespoon melted butter
    lemon juice (from concentrate is fine)
    Lemon pepper to taste

    Marinate the tofu on one side for 15 minutes in a baking dish, flip and repeat on the other side. Dredge in egg wash and then panko bread crumbs and pan fry.
    if you are vegan this could probably be modified a bit. It kinda tastes like lemon chicken….

  27. posted by Elaine on

    I’ve taken to pressing my tofu while cooking it. It also has the effect of making it nice and crispy and able to soak up sauces, which works much better than marinating.

    You need to use a good non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron frying pan, because it has to be done at fairly high heat with no oil. Cut it into whatever shape you like, add it to the dry hot pan, and press it with the back of a spatula or flipper. Keep doing that and turning the pieces over until they’re nicely done. At first press lightly but the tofu will get more resilient as it cooks so you can press harder. This gets all the water out (which makes a funny squealing noise) and cooks it at the same time.

    Then after that’s done add your sauce… it works best if the sauce has a good amount of sugar and the pan is very very hot. Then it gets all nice and glazey. My favourite is about 3T soy sauce, juice and zest from a lime, 2T brown sugar, and some pepper sauce.

  28. posted by [email protected] on

    @Shana : LOL! I think I’m going to make a point of posting “Ick, meat!” regularly, on unrelated posts, just for fun…

  29. posted by Anca on

    If tofu is making my stir-frys too watery I haven’t really noticed, but I intend to try some of the less complicated suggestions from the comments and Erin’s link (cloth napkin, dry-fry). For the very lazy I would recommend buying pre-baked tofu for stir-fry (Trader Joe’s sells it) and using the fresh tofu in Thai curry dishes where a little extra liquid won’t be a problem.

  30. posted by Debra on

    We put the tofu on a plate, put another on top and some can of soup or whatever on top of that.

  31. posted by Lisa on

    I learned this trick in a 3-day cooking clinic: buy extra-firm tofu and freeze it for 1 hour, rinse, drain, cut into cubes, and then marinade for at least 30 minutes. The freezing drives the water out of the tofu and you can break the ice off the surface while rinsing. Then as the tofu thaws it sucks the marinade into it.

  32. posted by b on

    as a vegetarian who eats plenty of tofu (but has no intention of ever making her own), I cast another vote for wanting to try this or something similar. This device can’t be much bigger than a block of tofu, and being able to quickly squeeze out and cut into cubes would be worth the cabinet space.

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