Here are some of commonly asked tempeh questions.
If your question is not answered here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 508-8100 x 19 between 9 am and 5 pm, M-F, Pacific Time. We will return messages left in voice mail on the next business day. You can also write to us at Turtle Island Customer Relations, POB 176, Hood River, OR 97031
What exactly IS tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soy product -- a cultured cake of soybeans and/or grains that has been a staple food in Indonesia for centuries. It is made by cooking and dehulling grains and inoculating them with a culture of mold called Rhizopus oligosporus. The product is then incubated overnight at the tropical temperature of 88° F. During this time the beans and/or grains are covered with a thick, white mat of mycelia that binds them together into a solid cake. After this process is finished (about 24 hours) the tempeh is then steamed to make it ready to eat.
Like the making of cheese, yogurt or other fermented foods, it is the incubation process that makes tempeh delicious and digestible. Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher protein content, dietary fiber and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine.
Do you use Genetically Engineered Ingredients in your tempeh products?
We only use certified organic soybeans in our tempeh. Turtle Island Foods has been a long time opponent of the use of genetically engineered foods (aka "foods produced using biotechnology”). We vigorously source certified non-genetically engineered ingredients from all of our suppliers. To learn more about how we feel about these ingredients click here.
Are your tempeh products vegan?
Yes, our tempeh products are all vegan. We have been a vegan food manufacturer for almost 30 years.
Does Turtle Island Foods tempeh contain a lot of sodium?
No, our “cake” tempeh is very low in sodium – it has between 0mg to 13mg of sodium per 3 oz. serving, depending upon the flavor. Our “cake” tempeh' is available in two flavors, organic soy and organic five-grain. This low sodium product is easy to cook with and takes a marinade very well.
Does your tempeh contain peanuts?
Our tempeh does NOT contain peanuts. However, some of our ingredient suppliers do process peanuts in their facilities; they have segregation and sanitation procedures in place to minimize the risks of cross-contamination, and we require documentation to this effect from each of our vendors. If you have a specific allergy question, please contact us directly and we will answer your question promptly.
What common allergens are in your tempeh products?
Soy is an ingredient in our all tempeh products and is considered to be “major allergen” by the FDA.
What are the “black spots” my tempeh?
Black “spots” on your tempeh are mold, entirely normal and perfectly edible. The white stuff you see between the soybeans is also the same mold. Tempeh is a fermented soy product, inoculated with Rhizophus oligosprorus, which is the species of mold used to ferment tempeh and bind the beans together. After we inoculate and incubate the beans, we steam the tempeh before we package, refrigerate and ship our tempeh. If you have mold on your tempeh that is a color other than black or white, please do not eat it.
What should my tempeh smell like?
Our tempeh should have an appetizing aroma – it may smell slightly mushroomy, nutty or yeast-like.
Do any of your tempeh products contain gluten?
Our organic soy and organic five-grain tempeh are gluten-free. Our Coconut Curry Marinated Tempeh Strips are also gluten and wheat free.
Are your tempeh products kosher?
Yes, our tempeh products are certified kosher-parve by Kosher Services of America (KSA).
How long will tempeh products last after they have been opened?
Tempeh is a perishable product. How long tempeh will last in your refrigerator after it has been opened depends on the product and the cleanliness of your specific refrigerator environment, length of time out of the refrigerator, etc. As a general rule of thumb, once opened, the product should be resealed in an airtight bag or container and returned to refrigeration as soon as possible. Your refrigerator should be kept at 41°F. Under these conditions, product should be safe for three to four days. Signs of spoilage are slimy texture, off smell or rampant growth of mold. “When in doubt, throw it out”. We recommend using our products by the “best use by date” stamped on each individual package, unless it has been stored in the freezer.
Can I eat tempeh uncooked (without cooking)?
Our tempeh is a completely cooked product, but we do recommend cooking it according to package directions before eating. This will ensure the best tasting product.
Can I freeze Turtle Island Foods tempeh?
All of our tempeh products purchased in a refrigerated state may be stored frozen (0° F) for up to a year from date of freezing, provided they are frozen prior to their pull date.
How long can I store tempeh in the refrigerator?
If you store your tempeh in a 41° F refrigerator and use by the “best use by date” stamped on the package.
Did you know?
Tempeh is made from whole soybeans and has been a staple food in Indonesia for centuries.