Fall is when the crock pot starts simmering. One of my favorite things to make is stock. It's easy, tasty, nutritious and can be frozen. Use whatever you happen to have on hand especially tough, overgrown garden veggies, kitchen scraps including the peels- yes the peels. I like to save a bowl of veg trimmings in the fridge or freezer and pop in the crock pot to simmer. Onion skins, carrot peels even fruit bits all add flavor to your soup base.
Many recipes start with a meat but it's easy to substitute kelp. You will get the same depth of flavor and a power house of nutrition. Kelp is a large brown seaweed that grows in shallow nutrient-rich saltwater all around the world. If you're lucky enough to live near the coast you can harvest your own after checking about local regulations.
One of the benefits of kelp is flavor. Seaweeds bring out the fifth flavor sensation- umami. Other foods with umami are parmesan cheese, miso and mushrooms. Great flavor is only the beginning- seaweed will add some serious nutrition to your broth. Kelp is rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements and enzymes. Kelp is also high in antioxidants which help to combat the negative effects of stress. Your broth will be especially appreciated when sick.
I like to simmer my stock overnight, it makes the house smell so delicious. Once cooled, strain the broth and freeze. I don't add any grains, rice or pasta until later. Stock is easy to freeze in glass jars. The important trick with glass is to leave plenty of empty space at the top of the jar. A minimum of 3/4 of an inch but I usually leave a bit more. Don't screw the lid on too tight and when placing in the freezer give each jar plenty of room. Saving canning jar boxes is an easy way to protect individual jars or even putting an old sock over each jar. When defrosting, check carefully for cracks. If this sounds too complicated- freeze your broth in ice cube trays. Small cubes are perfect for adding flavor to just about any dish.
Making your own stock lets you use a lot of foods that otherwise might be wasted. Adding kelp makes your stock both tasty and nutritious. It's a great zero waste way to cook.