making matzo balls ahead -- how to store?

gellchomMarch 24, 2010

I've made thousands of matzo balls over the years; you'd think I'd know the answer to this myself, but I feel uncertain.

I have about 20 coming for first seder Monday night (only 8 second night), so I'll need about 60 matzo balls. I have to go away overnight this weekend, %#@!!, getting back around 4 pm Sunday (and then all the out of towners start arriving), so I am trying to do even more than usual in advance this year to minimize the number of things I'll have to cook Sunday night and Monday.

I want to make the matzo balls before I leave. I can make them Thursday or Friday. Should I then:

- leave them in a bowl of water in the fridge

- leave them in a ziploc, no water, in the fridge

- freeze them on pans, then put into bags, then thaw before reheating and serving in the soup

- freezer them on pans, put into bags, and put frozen into the hot soup/another pot of hot water for 1/2 hour Monday

I googled around and found what sounded like an authoritative source recommending the last choice. But I am afraid we will be worried that the balls will still be ice cold in the middles.

Probably it doesn't matter that much; with any of these choices, at worst there will be a small diminution in quality, and with all the complications this year, so what? But I would like to hear your advice and experiences.

So tell me: which of these methods, or what other method, would you use? Is your answer different depending whether I make them Thursday or Friday?

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Well, I'll tell you that I've had left over MB soup in the fridge as late as the last day of Passover (I make a LOT) with no ill effects so I would think that keeping them in the fridge from Thurs to Monday would not be a problem. I'm not sure about the water or no water though, mine just sit in the soup with all the chicken and veggies, slowly soakin up the broth. :)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 2:47PM
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I sure wouldn't be saving refrigerated chicken soup for 8 days.
To help out I often make matzoa balls here and freeze and transport to my son and DIL's for passover...I put them into a flattish tupper, cover with chicken broth and freeze...
then I can just thaw a little and dump right into the soup....
If you haven't made enough chicken broth you can use canned...maybe!!
I know some people just freeze in salted water....but I like to be able to dump the partially frozen Matzoa balls into the soup.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 3:39PM
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I make them (in water for the vegetarians), cool them on racks, toss them into ziplocks (flat) then right into the freezer.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 5:04PM
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Last year I froze mine a little undercooked in freezer containers in the broth/water they were cooked in, thawed them in the pot like frozen soup with additional liquid, and cooked them the remaining hour. I think they might have been a little waterlogged, but dinner was late, so I'm not sure if it was from freezing or overcooking. Someone here mentioned freezing them without the liquid was better.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:08AM
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Jessy, glad to hear you say that. Based on Kframe's thread, ya'll got me craving something I've never had before, and I made Waaaaay too many! I froze them like you described.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 1:16AM
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Okay, but can anyone answer the question if I make them Thursday or Friday and refrigerate rather than freeze, do I store them in water or not?

And if you do freeze them, how long do you thaw before using?


    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 10:09AM
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Yikes, I'm guessing here. I wouldn't refrgerate in water, I think they would fall apart. I would just put them in the fridge as is, loose. And I think I just toss them, frozen, into my soup. I suppose I could just take them out of the freezer earlier in the day.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 10:12AM
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Yes, don't refrigerate in water. I always refrigerate them drained, in a container, and they hold up fine for several days. They start getting sad around the third day, so I wouldn't do them before Friday if you can help it.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 3:08PM
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Excellent, thanks. I made the dough earlier today, but I read someone's recommendation to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, not just the 1/2 hour or so the recipes recommend, so I'll do that and boil them tomorrow (Friday) as pillog suggests. They should be fine on Monday. As I said in the original post, at worst there will be a slight decline in quality, but with having to go out of town, 20 people to serve the first night, and some extra excitement this year, I say dayenu already on worrying about the stupid matzo balls!

Thanks so much, everyone. Your help gives me confidence and keeps me company in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 4:37PM
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I have never made them and left them in tupperware. I have frozen them on cookie sheets and they were fine. Why do you keep them in the fridge overnight? I have found that cooking them for 30 minutes does not seem like enough. Am I doing something wrong?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 6:17PM
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I only refrigerate for about 30 min. That's what the recipe calls for. I think the theory is that they are better if allowed to sit overnight and maybe they are. I dunno! But mine come out the way I like 'em so I probably won't change. You know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. OTOH there's nothing wrong with trying something new. How's that for a great wishy-washy answer? LOL

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:12AM
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Well, I just finished cooking them, and I think that in the future (unless I am pressed for time) I will always refrigerate the dough overnight, or at least a lot longer than the half hour or so I've been doing. The dough was MUCH easier to handle, so the balls were nice and neat; very little "crumbs" in the water when I was done (and that was 60 matzo balls).

I'm not going to freeze them; I imagine the quality would be slightly better, if at all, if I did, but I don't want to guess about frozen centers. This way I can take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature on Monday and then put them right into the bowls as we serve the soup. The soup won't get messy and the balls won't soak it up. (I don't need them to do that for flavor, because I made them with schmaltz.)

They are in a glass bowl with a cover. I don't care if they lose some roundness. The only thing I'm a bit worried about is them sticking together so much that I will mess them up as I try to spoon them out of the bowl. What do you think about pouring hot or warm water over them shortly before serving?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:44PM
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Hmmmmm. I keep a small bowl with oil (or schmaltz for you) by my dough and I keep my hands well oiled when I form the balls (have fun with that one, gang) before I cook them. I also let them cool on the rack, making sure none are touching otherwise they do stick together before I toss them in a ziplock. I've never had a problem with frozen balls. (shut up everyone)

Can you separate yours on a cake sheet?

This is all good experience for next year!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:15PM
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When I have matzah balls in the fridge I just spear them with a fork one at a time, so they let go of each other, but that's for leftovers. I think the best way to get them apart neatly is to do it while they're still cold from the fridge so they don't all squish together as they relax--if you have room to set them out flat. Better yet, to put them straight in the bowls! And to use your hand in a food service glove. Or maybe small tongs used gently. Though our recipes are very different, and yours might have more surface tension and be easier to handle.

Or, actually, maybe just dump the bowl gently, onto a large tray and let the balls roll around. :)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:11PM
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Has anyone made matzo balls and frozen them (cookie sheet method) without cooking first--then cooking when needed?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 7:02PM
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