Each summer I try to add mammoth sunflowers somewhere in our garden plan. And most years, this works out pretty well. We do occasionally have off years where no matter what I do , the sunflowers just don’t come. I’m pretty sure we’re not the only ones interested in eating the seeds. The ants can be fierce competitors for some things in the garden.
We had a smaller variety of sunflower growing in the garden this year along with a few mammoths, so when all of the growing was done, I only had two sunflowers to harvest. But you’d be amazed at the harvest that one or two sunflowers can provide! Amazing! And while sunflower seeds can definitely be cracked and used raw, roasted sunflower seeds are a great way to give the kids a fun snack involving cracking salty shells and finding the “treasure” inside.
Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
Harvesting the seeds from the flower heads is obviously the first part of the process. So, if you’ve never harvested sunflower seeds before, or just need a refresher, check out my tutorial here: Harvesting Sunflower Seeds. There’s also a video to help with the harvesting process.
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
Once your seeds are harvested, you’re ready to begin roasting sunflower seeds! And despite the title, roasted sunflower seeds actually begin in a pot with salt and water. This is the only salt you’ll add during the cooking/roasting process. Allowing the seeds to simmer in the salty water gives the seeds time to absorb the flavor. So here’s a break down of what you’ll need:
8 cups water
1/4 cup salt
- Begin by rinsing your fresh sunflower seeds. Place seeds in a pot with water and salt. Stir well. Place on a burner at medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the temperature and allow seeds to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain seeds and keep seeds in strainer for 15-20 minutes. The more well drained the seeds, the better they will roast. Trust me, soggy seeds do NOT roast well… firsthand experience speaking here. While seeds are draining, preheat oven to 400 degrees. (You’ll notice my seeds lost their purple color during the soaking process.)
- Place seeds on a baking sheet. Keep them to a single layer since we’re making roasted sunflower seeds, not steamed. Place sheet in a preheated oven and roast for 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on the seeds towards the end. You definitely don’t want to burn them.
- Remove seeds from oven when they are dry to the touch and a spatula moves them easily on the pan. Seeds can cool down on the baking sheet, or they can be moved onto a parchment lined cooling rack.
- Store roasted sunflower seeds in an airtight container and snack on them often! Ours rarely last for more than a week around the house.
Growing, harvesting, and roasting sunflower seeds is fun for the entire family. And these beautiful and tasty blooms are really quite easy to grow. So if you’ve never tried sunflowers in your garden or flower bed space, I definitely recommend giving it a shot!
I’d love to know if you’ve grown sunflowers and if so, what’s your favorite type? Have a great week and happy gardening!