Each summer I try to add mammoth sunflowers somewhere in our garden plan. And most years, this works out pretty well. The beauty of large sunflowers is impressive to behold, and my neighbors love to look at them. And of course, one of the main reasons we grow sunflowers in the summer garden is to make roasted sunflower seeds!
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!
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And while unshelled 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.
Growing Sunflower Seeds at Home
Growing sunflowers in our yard is one of my favorite things about summertime here, and if you’ve got a good amount of direct sunlight, then you can do it too! I’ve grown quite a few varieties over the years, and not all produce the seeds needed to roast. Here are some helpful articles for getting a large enough sunflower head that you can roast sunflower seeds.
- How to Grow Mammoth Sunflowers: Mammoth variety is the type that produces beautiful flowers with large heads from which you can harvest big seeds.
- How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds: Once you’ve grown the larger sunflower heads, how do you harvest them? See my full article with all of the info you need to get those seeds from the head of the sunflower. Plus, see the video below!
- How to Grow Sunflowers at Home: For any variety of sunflowers, here’s your go-to guide to learn how to grow them.
For best results with roasted sunflower seeds, I recommend trying to grow your own sunflowers. If that’s not an option, be sure to find a quality source for your seeds, preferably from somewhere that doesn’t spray their flowers with insecticides.
Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
Harvesting the seeds from the flower heads is obviously an important part of the process, and you’ll want to make sure you wait for the right time. So, if you’ve never harvested sunflower seeds before, or just need a refresher, check out my tutorial here: Harvesting Sunflower Seeds. Here’s a video of how to harvest sunflower seeds:
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:
- 2 cups raw sunflower seeds, raw and in the shell (grow your own or buy them here)
- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup of salt
Now that you know what you need. Here are the detailed instructions for how to roast those in-shell sunflower seeds.
Easy Roasted Sunflower Seed Recipe
- Begin by rinsing your unshelled seeds. Place seeds in a pot with several quarts of 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 in the pot of salted water for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain seeds and keep seeds in strainer for 15-20 minutes before moving onto the next step. The more well drained the seeds, the better they will roast, so get off as much excess moisture as you can. 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 cookie 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. Be sure to give them a taste test!
How to Store Roasted Sunflower Seeds
Did you roast more seeds than you could eat in one sitting? No worries. There are easy ways to store your sunflower seeds.
- Airtight container: For general storage, the best way to store is to put completely cooled sunflower seeds in an air-tight container. These will last for 3-4 months in the pantry or other dark, dry place.
- Ziploc Baggies: If you’d like to portion out your seeds for grab and go tasty snacks, then store portions of the seeds in a small plastic bag. These are also great for putting in kids backpacks and lunches. (And they can use the bag for the shells!)
- Freeze them: If you’re not able to eat your seeds in the 3-4 month window, no problem! The good news is you can easily freeze roasted sunflower seeds in the shell for up to a year.
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!
Other Recipes to Enjoy:
- 2 cups sunflower seeds (in shell)
- 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. While seeds are draining, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 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!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3646mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g