So the attempts at zero waste continue. At the moment we have simply the very best zero waste snack dropping out of the sky onto our front drive. And dropping onto the road. And our car. And the alley next door to our house. And just about everywhere. The hazel trees in our hedge have produced an abundant crop this year. We've been enjoying them and other small hazelnut lovers (that is, lovers of small hazelnuts) have been enjoying them too. A neighbour has collected some especially to go in her Christmas pudding, and Daughter's friend, who calls for her every morning, arrived yesterday brandishing nutcrackers so she could enjoy a handful on the way to school.
The smallest small hazelnut lover is a poor squirrel, however, who arrives annually to collect some of nature's bounty. He or she has been most frustrated to find that two cats have come to live here since last year, and spent a couple of days making angry squirrel noises at them from the top of the hedge in an unsuccessful attempt to shoo them away, before leaving in disgust.
As well as eating them neat, (the hazelnuts, not the squirrels) we have so, so many that we have been wondering what else we can do with them.
Son was immediately on the case, researching his favourite option. So much for less sugary snacks...
We have learnt that cracking enough hazelnuts to make 250g of shelled hazelnuts takes a very long time. Although we have a lot of hazelnuts in their shells, once they're cracked maybe we won't have quite so many. The nutella mixing was almost too much for our poor wand blender stick thingy which was making sounds worthy of the dentist's surgery. We used much less sugar (as a gesture towards our new healthy snack regime) and had to forego the vanilla extract because we didn't have any, but a rather delicious, rich, Ferrero Rocher, dark chocolate truffly type concoction emerged after all the hours of effort.
It's like a golden nectar that shouldn't be guzzled all at once, so we carefully froze a couple of small bowlfuls as well as leaving one out for consumption. (I have no idea if you can freeze freshly made nutella but we shall find out). The unfrozen bowl is supposed to be eaten within three weeks but I don't think there's much chance of it hanging around that long.
Ooh, and we also learnt that when you're cracking hazelnuts the shells get everywhere. I even found some in my bed (which is nowhere near the kitchen) this morning.