When it comes to uses for sunflower seeds, the list is endless! Add healthful, nutritional sunflower seeds to breads, muffins, cookies, desserts, egg dishes, and trail mixes; use them to top salads, pasta dishes, veggies, and of course, GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts)!
How to Harvest Homegrown Sunflower seeds:
- Once flowers are pollinated and you notice seeds forming, cover the flower heads with fabric like cheesecloth or a lingerie bag that provides ventilation but keeps out birds and squirrels.
- Harvest seeds after petals have wilted and when the back of the flower head has dried and turned brown, about 4 weeks after the flowers have been pollinated. You will notice seeds ripen around the outside of the flower first.
- Hang flower heads in a cool, dry place indoors for 3 to 4 weeks. Release the seeds from the heads by pulling heads apart or working seeds free with your fingers. Store your sunflower seeds in a sealed container in a cool, dry area or in the refrigerator or freezer.
Easy Recipes for Sunflower Seeds:
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
Spread sunflower seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet or shallow pan and roast in a 300°F oven for 30 or 40 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. The seeds will often develop a small crack down the center as they roast. Taste a few seeds to make sure they are completely roasted. Flavorings can be added by mixing a teaspoon of melted butter with a cup of seeds while they are still warm from the oven, then sprinkling with desired seasoning such as barbecue, taco, or ranch.
Salted Seeds in the Shell
Soak seeds overnight in salted water (1/4 to 1/2 c. salt in 2 qt. water). Drain and pat seeds dry with paper towels, then roast as instructed above.