Sunflower "Artichokes"

Tender sunflower buds ( Helianthus annuus ) are edible with a flavor similar to artichokes. Here is how to prepare your very own sunflower buds sunflower buds. Choose young, tightly-closed flower buds (see image), when buds are most tender and mildly flavored. Cutting the stem below the flower and just above the next branch will encourage new branches and flowers.

  1. If you aren't going to cook them right away, place the stem in a vase of fresh, room temperature water very soon after cutting; your buds will store for a few days this way.
  2. Cut the stems again to 1"-2" and rinse the buds before blanching them.
  3. Blanch the flower buds by immersing in salted, boiling water or broth for 1 to 2 minutes; drain and repeat a second time with fresh water/broth, until they are soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. Cook time for large buds may be longer.
  4. Drain and cool the cooked buds.
  5. Trim away the green parts from the bud with a paring knife to reveal the center, which even looks a bit like an artichoke heart.

Prepare your sunflower "artichokes" any way you would artichokes. Some of our favorite ways are grilling with lemon and herbs, pickling, marinating in olive oil with garlic and Italian seasonings, or sautéing in olive oil or butter with garlic, salt, and pine nuts, or better yet, sunflower seeds!

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Sunflower "Artichokes" Comments


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5 out of 5 stars May 23, 2019
Can I eat Jerusalem Artichoke buds the same way?
Sumi von Dassow from CO
Owner Response: I'm sorry, we weren't able to find a reliable source to say either way. It is a different species, so I would have to say stick to eating sunchoke roots.

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5 out of 5 stars Jan 15, 2021
Are there certain types of sunflowers that work best for this?
Marnie Griggs from OR
Owner Response: Hi Marnie, Multi-stemmed sunflowers would be preferred because they produce many flowers versus single-stemmed sunflowers which usually produce just one sunflower.

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5 out of 5 stars Jul 22, 2021
It tasted bitter....did I eat a part I wasn't supposed to?
Kim from TN
Owner Response: Hi Kim, Without a description of what you ate this is difficult to answer. The instructions to use salted water and changing the water usually remove most of the bitterness. Feel free to send us an email with questions anytime. We hope that helps!

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