The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

Question: My sunflowers are about 12 feet tall and the flower is bending over. How do I harvest the seeds? I want to eat them.

Answer: The seedheads on your sunflowers are mature if they're bending downward and the back of the head is beginning to turn brown. Harvest by cutting the head plus two inches of stem off the plant and hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated place such as an attic or garage until fully dry. To extract the seeds, rub two heads together, or use a wire brush. Spread the seeds out until fully dry (test by crunching one between your teeth). They can be stored in an airtight container. If you want a salty tasting sunflower, soak them overnight in a strong salt and water solution, then bake in a very slow (200F degree) oven until completely dry, but not browned.

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