Homemade dumplings are best produced with family and friends over the course of a few convivial hours, since small batches are hardly worth the time required. Many hands make light work, and together you can easily turn out enough for everyone. Once they're assembled, freeze your dumplings either cooked or uncooked for quick meals at any time.
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Space the dumplings evenly on the sheet pan in a single layer, not touching.
Allow the dumplings to rest uncovered for 15 minutes, so the dough can dry slightly and reduce the risk of sticking.
Spray the dumplings lightly with cooking spray, then cover them loosely with plastic wrap.
Arrange the contents of your freezer so a sheet pan can sit flat. Slide the sheet of covered dumplings into your freezer, and leave them for four hours or until they're frozen solid.
Remove your sheet pan from the freezer, and transfer the individually frozen dumplings to heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight freezer containers. Label and date them, then return the dumplings immediately to your freezer.
Use frozen cooked dumplings within two weeks for the best possible quality, or uncooked dumplings within two months. They remain food safe for as long as they're frozen, but the quality deteriorates in longer storage.
Reheat cooked dumplings by transferring them directly to a steamer or immersing them in soup, as appropriate. Uncooked dumplings should be allowed to warm for 10 to 15 minutes to soften the wrappers without thawing the filling. Steam them in an oiled bamboo steamer for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the type and size of dumplings.
Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.com, WorkingMother.com and the websites of the Houston Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle; and offline in Canada's Foodservice & Hospitality magazine and his local daily newspaper. He was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.