In the September/October 2009 issue of Gardening How-To, Michelle Leise wrote about growing sunflowers. If you grow sunflowers, you may want to harvest the seeds. Here are some simple instructions for preparing them.
Let the seeds dry
First, leave the seeds on the flower to dry. You may have to add a lightweight cover, like cheesecloth, to keep nature from beating you to the goodies.
How to roast kernels
To create your own roasted seeds, remove the hulls, and place kernels in a shallow pan. A jellyroll pan works well. Roast in a 300°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until brown. You’ll need to stir occasionally as the nuts roast. After you’ve removed them from the oven, you may wish to stir in some melted margarine. Use about 1 teaspoon per cup of seeds. Salt seeds, if desired, and place on absorbent paper to cool. Store in a tightly covered container.
How to boil seeds in the hull
Here’s how to create the mouth-numbing salty treat from your childhood. Place the unhulled seeds in a pan and cover with salt water. For the salt water, use ¼ to ½ cup of salt for 2 quarts of water. Soak seeds overnight or bring them to a boil and simmer for two hours. Let them dry on absorbent paper. Use the seed-roasting instructions to finish the batch.
If you need an excuse to add sunflower seeds to virtually everything you eat, here it is. Sunflower seeds are a rich source of three vitamins and minerals most Americans don’t eat enough of: Vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. As an added bonus, they contain a big load of the phytosterols that help lower cholesterol.