Not every food is ideal for tucking away in your freezer for a rainy, sick or snowy day. But chicken soup and matzah balls actually freeze really well — and you’ll never be sorry to have an extra batch waiting for you.
There are a few steps to success when it comes to freezing chicken soup and matzah balls, and maybe a few special kitchen items to help you along the way, too. Let me guide you through them:
Skim the Fat
I prefer to skim the fat from my chicken soup twice. As it’s simmering, I periodically spoon off the fat that has pooled on the top. Then, after the soup has cooled, I place it in containers in the fridge overnight, and skim off the top layer of fat that has formed and discard it. I don’t remove all the fat, as I still like some in the broth for flavor, but that is a personal preference.
However you choose to skim the fat, after it has cooled (or the next day, after it has sat in the fridge) you are ready to freeze and store the broth.
Let It Cool, Like, All the Way
One of the most crucial steps to successfully freezing your broth (aka soup or stock) is to allow it to cool completely. First, allow it to cool on the stove. Then, either pour the liquid into containers or cover the pot and place in the fridge. If you place a still-warm soup into the freezer, it could lower the temperature inside, thus impacting the other items already frozen. By placing it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, this also allows for the skimming process described above.
How to Store the Broth
The most effective way to store your chicken broth is in flattened Ziploc freezer bags (like the photo above, just imagine that it’s soup and not corn). Get yourself some sturdy freezer bags (this isn’t the time to save money and buy the generic brand) and fill them almost all the way up. Press out as much air as you can, place the bags on a baking sheet or the floor of your freezer, and freeze. Once the broth has frozen, you can stack them up in your freezer (or place on top of other things in your freezer) to maximize storage.
Alternatively, you can just freeze the liquid in quart deli containers or another large container (just keep in mind this will take up additional space in your freezer). Remember: the liquid will expand slightly as it freezes, so make sure not to fill a container all the way to the top or it could crack open.
You could also freeze the broth in different size silicone “souper cubes” so you can take out smaller portions as needed. This allows you to freeze portions of stock to add to other soups, stews or dishes, or just for more individualized portions of soup at-the-ready if that better fits your lifestyle.
How to Store the Matzah Balls
As I researched this topic, the one opinion about freezing matzah ball soup that was unanimous was to freeze the broth and matzah balls separately; you do not want to freeze the matzah balls in liquid (they will absorb too much liquid, and could end up overly mushy).
To store cooked matzah balls: Boil the matzah balls according to your recipe or package directions and then remove them from the pot into a container or bowl (preferably with some of the liquid so they don’t get “flat bottoms”). After they have cooled, drain any remaining liquid and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and allow to freeze fully. Then place the frozen matzah balls into Ziploc freezer bags. Alternatively, I have a friend who uses a vacuum sealer to store his matzah balls and swears by this method.
How to Reheat
When you are ready to serve your soup, its best to allow the broth to thaw at room temperature for a few hours (or in the fridge overnight). Then, bring the broth to a simmer over low-medium heat, making sure to stir every so often.
To reheat frozen matzah balls, place frozen matzah balls directly into simmering soup. Serve with extra fresh dill, noodles, soup nuts or whatever soup fixins you enjoy.
And here are few of my favorite chicken soup recipes to try:
- Classic chicken soup with matzah balls
- Vegetarian chicken soup with matzah balls
- Matzah ball pho
- Andrew Zimmern’s fluffy matzah ball soup
- Ina Garten’s chicken stock