Harvesting & Handling Sunflowers
Sunflowers growing in the backyard are easy to harvest and roast
for a tasty treat. Sunflowers should be allowed to mature in the
garden. There are several indicators of maturity. The back of the
flower head will be brown and dry; most of the yellow petals will
have dried and fallen; the seeds will be plump; and the seed coats
will be black and white striped.
When the seeds are ready, but before the seeds begin to loosen
and dry, cut the head off the stem leaving about one foot of stem
attached. Rub the seeds out on the head by hand, dry, and store.
If birds and squirrels harvest your sunflowers before you do, you
have a couple of options to discourage the critters. Cover the heads
with paper sacks so the seeds are harder to retrieve. Heads may
also be picked when the back turns from green to rich yellow, and
then dried in a dry, protected location.
If your seeds are for the birds, store them sealed containers in
a dry spot.
Sunflower seeds are good as a snack or added to favorite recipes
in place of nuts. Raw mature sunflower seeds are easy to prepare
at home. Cover unshelled seeds with salted water. Use 1/4 to 1/2
cup of salt per two quarts of water. Bring to a boil and simmer
for two hours. Drain and dry on absorbent paper. Seeds may also
be soaked overnight in a salt solution.
Roast sunflower seeds in a shallow pan at 300 degrees for 30 to
40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. After removing
from the oven, stir in one teaspoon of melted butter or margarine
for every cup of seeds. Cool on an absorbent towel and salt to taste.
One-quarter cup of sunflower seeds is 200 calories. Sunflower seeds
are high in potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
August - September 2001: Watering Correctly Saves
Time, Money, and Plants | Gourd Success Includes Proper
Harvest & Handling | Harvesting & Handling
Sunflowers | Early Fall Key Time for Lawn Fertilization
| Control Perennial Grassy Weeds