How to Harvest and Roast Sunflower Seeds
Sunflowers are known for their happily colored flowers and their surprisingly strong and tall stalk. In addition to the traditional bright yellow sunflower, the plant also blooms in orange, cream or blue as well.
Not only do sunflowers provide bright color in your garden (and come on, who doesn't see a sunflower and smile?), but harvesting sunflower seeds for your family to snack on is a relatively simple process. There is no need to purchase sunflower seeds at the grocery store when you can dry roast your own at home at the end of the sunflower growing season.
But just when is the best time to harvest sunflower seeds and how can you roast sunflower seeds yourself? I'm glad you asked! This article will discuss proper sunflower seed harvesting techniques, as well as provide you with instructions on how to roast the seeds in your home yourself.
When to harvest sunflower seeds:
- Wait until the sunflower dries naturally on the stalk. Normally you'll need to wait until the end of the growing season.
- Harvest sunflower seeds when the back of the flower is brown and dry, and when the seeds are striped black and white.
- Cut the sunflower bloom off about one foot below the stem before the seeds completely loosen and pop off.
- Rub the dried seeds off the by hand, or with a towel.
Sunflowers are both beautiful and delicious!
If you are worried about birds swiping your sunflower seeds before you cut the bloom off the stock, consider draping a piece of cheesecloth over the sunflower bloom as it dries to protect the seeds from pesky birds. Secure the cheesecloth over the bloom with a loose knot.
Once the bloom is spent, cut it off the stalk, and then carry your sunflower bundle into the kitchen for the harvesting and roasting process.
How to roast sunflower seeds:
- Combine 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt to two quarts of water, and add seeds.
- Soak seeds in the liquid mixture overnight. Drain, seeds from the mixture, and pat dry.
- Distribute the seeds evenly on a baking pan.
- Roast sunflower seeds at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the sunflower seeds look golden brown. Stir and turn the seeds occasionally to keep them from burning.
- Dump the seeds on a towel to cool, and add additional salt to taste.
- Store seeds in a resealable container, eat and enjoy.
Regardless of whether or not you grow sunflowers for purely aesthetic reasons, or if you grow them for snacking options, this beautiful plant is sure to be the talk of the neighborhood is properly cared for.