Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hazelnuts A Go-Go!

I subscribe to Freecycle, an excellent service designed to keep things out of landfills and circulate items within the community. If you have something to get rid of, you post to the list and everyone gets an email about it; whoever wants it can come pick it up. If there's something you want, you post to the list and often someone else will have it and give it to you. There are drawbacks, namely my email getting bombed with zillions of messages a day, but every once in awhile something like this comes up...

Free hazelnuts. Yes, really.

A lady had a small orchard of hazelnut trees and decided she'd rather the extra nuts went to people than squirrels. All we had to do was drive out and gather them. So on Saturday morning we woke up early and took a lovely drive out to the country, about 30 minutes from our house. It was a gorgeous early fall day, cool but sunny, except in the shade of the little apple/hazelnut orchard.

Hazelnuts look like this when they grow on the tree:

And then when they're ready for harvest, they fall to the ground, and whoever wants them just gathers them up.

So that's what we did!

We got two five-gallon buckets full. Ten gallons of hazelnuts! For free! We estimate that's at least $150 worth of hazelnuts. Score!

Once we got them home, we had to dry them out a bit before we could eat and store them. We still don't have any furniture in the spare bedroom, so we spread out a sheet on the floor and put two little space heaters in there to get the temperature up around 100 degrees.

They're hanging out in there for a few days; we're told it should take about a week. So this weekend they should be ready.

I'm making hazelnut pumpkin butter first!

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