The Q&A Archives: Sunflower Seed

Question: I have beautiful, huge, Paul Bunyan sunflowers. The package said they were edible but I can't find any recipies. I would like to salt them. Do you know of any recipes?

Answer: There's really no mystery in harvesting sunflower seeds. Wait until the petals fall and the heads begin to droop. You'll notice the back of the seed heads will begin to turn yellow instead of green. Cut them along with about 2' of stem and hang them upside down to dry in a dry, well-ventilated place such as a garage or attic, until fully dry. Remove the seeds by rubbing two heads together, or by using a stiff brush. Spread out the seeds until fully dry and store in plastic bags, or soak overnight in a strong salt solution, drain, spread on a shallow baking sheet, and roast at 200F degrees until crisp. The recipes vary on the amount of salt to use. Try a half cup to a quart of water - if that's not salty enough, add more for your next batch. Depending upon size, your sunflower seeds can take 30 minutes to 3 hours to dry in the oven. Test often by taking a few seeds out of the oven, allowing to cool, and crunching between your teeth. You'll know when they're crispy dry. Store in an airtight container.

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