This year we planted eight sunflower seeds. Four of them took and became beautiful things- nearly 7 feet tall. Of course, I didn’t think to take a picture of them when they were big and beautiful. I chose to take pictures when they were dead and dried up- go figure.
When your big sunflower heads look like this, they’re ready for harvesting.
The outside petals should be crispy and the heads droopy.
Avoid the black, moldy ones that look like this. Eewww..
When you’re ready to de-seed your sunflower heads, I recommend having a very large bowl nearby for the seeds to drop into. Using your thumb, gently push the seeds from the side and they should pop right out. Here’s what an empty one looks like…
What I’m choosing to call the pulp (the flesh just under the seeds) smells amazing, very earthy. I hope to find a use in some potpourri or something.
Once you’ve got all the seeds out, give them a good rinse and then let them soak in salt water over night. In the morning, drain the water and let them air dry for a couple hours.
Spread them on a baking pan and give them a sprinkle of salt.
Cook the damp seeds in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking after 10 minutes and every 5 minutes after that. Oven times vary and they can burn in the blink of an eye.
Let the slightly golden brown seeds cool and they’re ready to crack open and eat!