I always get lots of questions from folks about why we grow so many sunflowers. There are lots of reasons, but two of the biggest are: Its a lot of reward for a little effort, and the results are VERY tasty. 😀
This year we grew giant sunflowers from an heirloom seed, and even I, a veteran sunflower grower (12 years and more growing them), was amazed at their size, and the amount of seeds buried under those gorgeous flowers that make my summer days so bright and happy!
Sunflower seeds are a wonderful addition to our family’s snacks, and full of nutrition. The absolutely best part is that not only do you get the lovely joy of the flowers as they bloom and grow (and see the wonder of your kids as they watch them grow a huge amount every week), but you also have the tasty result for a little effort every late fall. 😀
Once the heads have turned face down, and all the petals have fallen off, you simply allow them to dry on the stem. Sunflowers are one of the last things we harvest from our garden, including squash, and pumpkins. Before the first frost, and right before we till it up and amend the soil for the following Spring. Cut the stems, and take off the heads, then allow to sit somewhere outside on a flat surface (or in your garage if you have no other place) but be sure to cover them, because I am telling you, birds will take your harvest before you can say SNAP. 😀
Once you have waited a couple days, rub all the flower heads covering the seeds off. They come off very easily. Then turn the heads over the bowl, and rub in a clockwise motion. Sometimes bending the heads so that the seeds stick out more prominently is a good idea, and easier to get them all out. Underneath the Â seeds the heads will have an almost tree sap like coating, and it will get all over your hands if you dig too deep, so word to the wise.
Once you get the seeds out, take them inside and clean all the extra debris out of them. Soak them in a warm water bath with a handful of salt. I let mine sit in the fridge overnight.
Once they have soaked, drain and rinse. I use a colander because it is easier.
Next I place mine in my oven on a lined baking sheet and bake at 200* for about 35 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Here is where you can flavor them for whatever flavor you want. If you like simple salted seeds, then you leave them as they are. We like spicy combination, like cayenne and cumin, or even garlic/onion ones (which you make by combining garlic powder and onion salt).
Once you have them roasted, let them cool to room temperature, and bag up. Dont rush this step, because the seeds will release all their leftover moisture, and if you put them in the bag before they are fully cool, they will end up molding. 🙁
Follow these steps, and you will have lots of awesome snacking ahead for those winter months!!!
Blessings to you and yours