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The Beauty and Benefits of Sunflowers

Updated on September 23, 2014

Stop and Smell the Sunflowers

You can never mistake a sunflower for any other. It's impossible.

Such a tall golden flower impresses you immediately with an instant recognition of Summer. A field of waving sunflowers can stop you dead in your tracks.

How lovely is this flower, with such a bright golden beauty that has captured the sunshine of a hundred sunny days.

The Heart that has Truly Loved ...

The heart that has truly loved never forgets,

But as truly loves on to the close,

As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets

The same look which she turned when he rose!

~Thomas Moore

Sunflowers from Seed

Sunflower Seed Pie

You can make this pie in advance and freeze it for up to a month. Thaw it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves:4 - 6

Ingredients

  • 9 inch pie crust
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375*. Beat eggs, sugar, salt, butter and syrup. Stir in sunflower seeds. Pour into pastry lined pie plate.
  2. Bake until set, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or refrigerate.
Cast your vote for Recipe : Sunflower Seed Pie

Recipe : Avocado and Lettuce Salad with Sunflower Seeds

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 small heads iceberg lettuce torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 avocados peeled pitted and sliced

Instructions

  1. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and garlic in small bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in mayonnaise. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine lettuce and sunflower seeds in bowl; toss with enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with avocado slices. Pass remaining dressing separately.

Sunflower Oil

Healthy, natural sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance and supplies more Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil.

It's a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels. .

The versatility of this healthy oil is recognised by cooks of every level. I value this golden oil for its light taste, frying performance, health benefits and, of course, the taste..

When choosing sunflower oil, try to get the unrefined oil.

The Shelf Life of a bottle of Sunflower Oil is 12 Months

Van Gogh's Sunflowers

A simple parable about the brevity of life

Vincent van Gogh painted these sunflowers after leaving his native Holland for the south of France with the dream of starting an artistic community. He began to paint sunflowers to decorate a bedroom for his friend Paul Gauguin.

The series of paintings was made possible by the innovations in manufactured pigments in the 19th Century.

Without the vibrancy of the new colours, such as chrome yellow, Van Gogh may never have achieved the intensity of Sunflowers.

These most famous of all sunflowers in art hold at their heart a simple parable about the brevity of life; they are at varying stages in the life cycle, from withered and wilting to vibrant full bloom.

The Sunflowers of Van Gogh

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Four Cut Sunflowers / Four sunflowers gone to seedRoses and SunflowersPortrait of Augustine Roulin (La Berceuse)Vase with Five SunflowersVase with Three Sunflowers
Four Cut Sunflowers / Four sunflowers gone to seed
Four Cut Sunflowers / Four sunflowers gone to seed
Roses and Sunflowers
Roses and Sunflowers
Portrait of Augustine Roulin (La Berceuse)
Portrait of Augustine Roulin (La Berceuse)
Vase with Five Sunflowers
Vase with Five Sunflowers
Vase with Three Sunflowers
Vase with Three Sunflowers

Van Dyck and a Sunflower

The Spirals of Nature

We are accustomed to seeing the spiral in Nature.

A spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point.

If you look closely at the centre of a sunflower you can see that the disk flowers grow in a pattern of two opposite spirals.

Big Stock Photo

Fields of Golden Sunflowers

Sunflower Seed Huller and Oil Press - Organic Gardening, April 1979

Vegetable oils used to be one of those items you just HAD to buy. Now here's how to make your own.

The Sunflower Seed Huller and Oil Press By Jeff Cox -- from Organic Gardening, April 1979, Rodale Press

Gazing up at the Sun

The Sunflower in Mythology

The name of the sunflower, Helianthus, is Greek and means, curiously enough, Sunflower

There was once a beautiful water-nymph called Clytie who fell in love with Helios, the God of the Sun. She was so much in love that she would sit on the grass and gaze up at the sun all day long but Helios, in his travels, looked over the world and never once did he see Clytie.

The other Gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower. Her legs became the sunflower's stem, her face became the flower and her golden hair the petals.

Today, in the form of a sunflower, Clytie still stares up at her love and this is why the sunflower's face always turns to follow the path of the sun.

The Wild Sunflower

At early dawn, like soldiers in their places,

Rank upon rank the golden sunflowers stand;

Gazing toward the east with eager faces,

Waiting, until their god shall touch the land

To life and glory, longingly they wait,

Those voiceless watchers at the morning's gate.

Dawn's portals tremble silently apart;

Far to the east, across the dewy plain,

A glory kindles that in every heart

Finds answering warmth and kindles there again;

And rapture beams in every radiant face

Now softly glowing with supernal grace.

And all day long that silent worship lasts,

And as their god moves grandly down the west,

And every stem a lengthening shadow casts

Toward the east, ah, they love him best,

And watch till every lingering ray is gone,

Then slowly turn to greet another dawn.

~Albert Bigelow Paine~

Keep your face to the sunshine and you can't see the shadow.

That's what sunflowers do.

© 2008 Susanna Duffy

Please leave your comment for the Sunflower before she wilts ...

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    • jaclinart lm profile image

      jaclinart lm 5 years ago

      Absolutely love sunflowers.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I pinned this to my board on food and cooking because your sunflower pie which sounds like pecan pie.

    • justDawn1 profile image

      justDawn1 5 years ago

      Sunflower Seed pie! Interesting! Sunflowers just make me happy! =D

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Stopping back by to enjoy this once more. How I love the brilliance of sunflowers. When I lived on an island along the Gulf of Mexico, the wild sunflowers were the most glorious sight. And that sunflower seed pie of yours has me so intrigued.

    • Pmona LM profile image

      Pmona LM 5 years ago

      Informative lens about sunflowers, and full of useful information. I love the story about Clytie.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I love sunflowers!

    • profile image

      Laura2222 6 years ago

      I love sunflowers. They are so vibrant and beautiful. Your lens is great!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I love how you approached your topic here. The sunflower is truly a masterpiece in every way. **Blessed**

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      Great information about sunflowers and mythology. Love this lens!

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 6 years ago from Florida

      I LOVE Sunflowers! Am also addicted to sunflower seeds (in the shell)!

    • gamecheathub profile image

      gamecheathub 6 years ago

      These pictures you have on this lens are amazing!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      I love sunflowers, Susanna, and we used to grow them. Your salad recipe that includes sunflowers sounds really good, too!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      I couldn't agree with you more, Susanna, there's nothing more cheerful than a yellow sunflower. Beautiful lens, blessed! :)

    • profile image

      BeyondRoses 6 years ago

      I've watched sunflowers, all the stages of sunlight gold to fading, and wilting. Delightful poetic reflections, and sunflower photos!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      Lovely lens. I think I might have to try those sunflower biscuits.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm a Kansas girl and I love sunflowers. Nice tribute to them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      They are all so bright and cheerful! :)

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      What a fabulous lens on the sunflower! The recipes sound inviting, and the photography is awesome!

    • phoenix arizona f profile image

      phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

      Beautiful flowers.

    • serenity4me lm profile image

      serenity4me lm 6 years ago

      What a great lens. I didn't know all this information about sunflowers, however; I planted my mother an entire natural fence line this year with Giant sunflowers (to screen, for some privacy). The sunflowers are coming up nice and tall right now, I can't wait to see them all in bloom at the same time! Thanks for all the info, have a beautiful day.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Did a lens on Where Do Sunflower Seeds Come From, and thought I would check out some other lenses on Sunflowers.

    • profile image

      grannysage 6 years ago

      Living in Kansas I'm not a big fan of sunflowers. But I have to say this is beautiful. The purple only accents the beauty.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I love sun flowers and the way they follow the sun around. Lovely lens!

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      What a beautifully textured and multi-dimensional lens. Interesting about the yellow pigments. And I want to run to the store and buy avocado right now to make that salad. Blessed.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      I love sunflowers. They always seem so happy growing out in the garden. Some fun recipes here, but I can't wait to try Jalapeno Sunflower Seed Pesto.

    • profile image

      DaveWalters 8 years ago

      Susanna, I am really happy that I found your lens. I just joined Squidoo and I made my first lens about my favorite food....Sunflower Seeds. Oh I love them. Another one of my favorite foods are blueberries. I am going to make your recipe for Blueberry Bran Sunflower Muffins. Thank you!

    • TopStyleTravel profile image

      TopStyleTravel 8 years ago

      Great lens on the beauty and benefits of Sunflowers. When I was a child, my father grew them in our garden. The sunflower seed pesto recipe sounds yummy. Lovely photos and resources.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      We live in BC in the North Thompson region. Last year we decided to grow a trial 2 acre field of sunflowers. Amazing was the one word we heard from people over and over again. The faces of the flowers seem to make everyone just smile. In 2009 we are doing it again and hope that people take the time to come into our field to enjoy. This flower has more benefits than we know.

    • sittonbull profile image

      sittonbull 8 years ago

      I grew 60 acres of Higholic Sunflowers under contract several years ago. They were so beautiful and generated a gigantic amount of public interest and was also popular with the birds. One of my favorite plants and I'm told native to SC. Very nice lens is faved and 5*