So you grew the sunflowers and they fulfilled their purpose as the centerpiece of your garden, a trellis, or maybe a privacy screen and now they are standing 8 or more feet tall and drooping over and the seeds look just right, now what do you do? Time to harvest those seeds!
What a great treat any time of the year, a mid-day snack at work, something to munch on when you’re out for a hike, kickin’ back relaxing by a campfire, yep I could have a handful of sunflower seeds just about anytime. It’s even greater satisfaction when you grow, harvest, and roast your own.
Separating The Sunflower Head
The first thing you need to do is just cut that stalk off right behind the flower and get it down there where you can work on it. The flower will be clearly ready when the seeds look full size and the plant itself looks as though it’s beginning to die.
Once you have the flower head in hand tear off a workable piece. This is really only necessary if you’re working with the larger head varieties like the Mammoth Sunflower, which is what I like to grow and harvest seeds from.
Removing The Sunflower Seeds
Now go get you a pair of gloves, I did this last year without gloves and had blisters all over my hands and fingers. Just tear off a piece of that sunflower head and while holding over a bowl push and rake your hand over the seeds, you have to press pretty hard because they are in there good.
Rubbing the seeds out to dislodge them is much more efficient than trying to pull them out. Be sure sure to get a large bowl and you may even want to lay down a tarp as you will find a large number of seeds will miss the bowl and end up all around your work area. I always seem to forget this and make a pretty big mess.
Once you get all the seeds out of the flower you will have to sift through there and dig out the pieces of the flower that fell in your bowl and pick up all the ones that missed the bowl.
Washing And Soaking The Seeds
To prepare your seeds for roasting, soak in a brine mixture for 24 hours. Put in enough water to cover the seeds mixed with about 2 tablespoons of salt per cup of sunflower seeds.
You will have to put a small plate or something on top of the seeds to keep them under the water. When you are done soaking the seeds spread them on a towel and take some paper towels and press on them to get them as dry as possible.
You can speed this part up if you like by boiling your seeds. Using the same 2 tablespoons of salt per cup of sunflower seeds, add to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Roasting The Sunflower Seeds
Spread the seeds evenly on a pan trying to not overlap them on each other. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the seeds for about 15 minutes. Try a couple and see if they are dry enough and roasted to your satisfaction, if not then go a little longer, maybe 5 more minutes.
That’s all there is to it, now you are ready to snack on those freshly roasted sunflower seeds!
If you are only roasting a cup or two you can enjoy them as an immediate snack over the next few days but if you are roasting in bulk for some to enjoy throughout the year like I do then you are going to have to package them.
Packaging Your Seeds For A Convenient Snack
I like to package them up with my FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System a couple of handfuls at a time and store them up so I can enjoy them throughout the year.
- Seal freshness in: Meat preserved with the FoodSaver system in the freezer can…
- Automatic bag detection: Automatic bag detection makes vacuum sealing easier…
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Last update on 2022-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This helps to keep them dry and fresh and really handy whenever you want to grab a pack real quick. When you package them in this way they can stay good for many months and they don’t take up much space.
You could also store your roasted seeds in jars. I would suggest using many small jars, perhaps half pint canning jars with screw-on lids as this would be more convenient for snacks.
I would also add a Silica Gel Desiccant Moisture Absorber to the jar to help keep the sunflower seeds fresh and lasting longer by eliminating any moisture that could collect in the jar.
- SUGGESTED USAGE: Each 2 gram packet can cover approx. 1 gallons/ 0.14 cu.ft….
- These silica gel packets are food contact safe. Packet material is made of oil…
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Last update on 2022-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Sunflowers on my homestead serve many purposes from a beautiful garden centerpiece, a trellis for vining plants, a privacy screen along the edge of my property, and a little food for the birds but why not get the absolute most out of them by enjoying those seeds roasted to perfection.
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