Freeze the meat but don’t roll into balls. So either you spice it before or after you thaw it. Wax paper the “log” and then double wrap it in plastic wrap. I just ate a package from Feb 6th and they were great.
A 2.5 to 3 lb package will take a while to defrost. I will take it out a package around midnight when I go to bed and it will be defrosted in my sink when I get home around 6pm the next day…just leave it in a bowl to defrost and not in the fridge. I suppose you want to make sure you don’t have a cat or dog that can get at it.
Also, as a tip, browning them first will result in a firmer meatball while plopping them raw into sauce will be a softer one.
I also thought shortly after posting that I could just freeze a batch worth of meatball meat prep in one lump and then ball it up after defrosting.
I’m impressed that you know the date for the making of your frozen items. Alas, I’m in the “mystery” mode, so far, as regards much of my freezer items, especially those in the garage freezer. Not just when, but even “what is that?”
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
I have slowly learned that labelling is key. Not for nothing do I often describe my dinners as “brown gloop from the freezer”
Ha! I made a batch of meatballs yesterday for the freezer. I bake mine to cook and then threw them all in a ziplock to freeze overnight. I’ll separate them out and vacuum seal them in meal sized packages later today. I will label them.
To thaw I’ll just throw them in the red sauce to simmer and serve.
That’s been my MO for twenty years. One of my favorite meals too!
I brown mine, cook in sauce, then freeze individually on parchment lined pan with tiny bit of sauce covering each ball. Once frozen I put them in a zip lock bag or vacuum seal. I do this so I can take out only what I need. Like maybe just a few for a sandwich. I also like to keep the meatballs and sauce separate because I can quickly defrost and warm the sauce and throw the frozen balls in the warm up faster. When I freeze them together it takes longer to defrost especially if I’m doing it on the stove top instead of the microwave and because,“sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone.”
I place the uncooked meatballs on a flat sheet covered in wax paper until frozen. I then transfer them to a Ziploc–since they’re already frozen at this point, they don’t stick together–which has been labelled with “meatballs” + date. When I want to use them, I brown them and then add fresh sauce. I’ve been doing this for decades (OK, so the labeling has been a relatively recent addition
I was taught that you shouldn’t thaw ground beef, but rather cook it from the frozen state. Now that I think about it, I’ve never actually looked at the science/thought behind this. Just one of those things mom said that I never questioned.
Ah, meatballs! Like meatloaf, I tend to triple my efforts in one oven shot. I use the large cookie scoop and turn out about 75 at one time. Three baking pans loaded, baked 325 degrees until the interior is just light pink. I finish cooking in prepared Sunday gravy and once cooled to room temp. pour into containers, dated for the deep freeze. Because we make meatloaf too, I always use meatballs sauced. Come parrty time, we make up fresh pasta while the sauce and meatballs reheat in a large pot.