How to Prepare Fresh Sunflower Seeds To Eat

Here is a great article on preparing sunflower seeds for consumption. Before you get started, know that the average Santa Barbara Blueberries sunflower face is about 13" across and it contains approximately 1 lb of sunflower seeds. This is a big ole' flower!
 
You may notice some sunflowers have some seed gaps on the flower face. This is because the birds like sunflower seeds almost as much as they like blueberries- bird netting goes up next year. Also notice that the ready-to-harvest flowers are now facing downward. This is a defense mechanism built into the sunflower that discourages many bird species from feasting on the seeds when they are edible. As soon as the seeds start ripening, the flowers bend to the ground.  
How to Prepare Sunflower Seeds for Eating 
By Pamela Gardapee, eHow Contributor
According to the National Sunflower Association, about 25 percent of the sunflower seeds produced are salted and roasted for human consumption. There is a large market for edible sunflowers seeds in the United States and other countries. Although you can purchase salted sunflower seeds at the store, you can also prepare your own sunflower seeds from the plants that you grow in your backyard. 
Things You'll Need:
  • Harvested sunflower seeds
  • Large bowl
  • Salt
Preparation Instructions:
  1. Hang the heads upside down until they are dry. Separate the seeds from the heads.
     
  2. Place the unshelled sunflower seeds in a bowl. Mix 2 tbsp. of salt in 1 cup of water. Pour it over the seeds to cover. If you have a large amount of seeds and they are not covered by the water, mix another cup of water with 2 tbsp. of salt and add it to the bowl. Let sit for 12 hours. Boil the seed mixture for two minutes and then drain.
     
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. 
     
  4. Place the sunflower seeds on a cookie sheet. The seeds must be in a single layer and not piled on top of each other. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for three hours or until the seeds are golden and crisp. 
Other Tips:
  • If you prefer not to soak the seeds in salt water, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and bake the seeds for 25 minutes to roast.
     
  • Substitute Cajun seasoning for the salt to make Cajun sunflower seeds. Soak the sunflower seeds in water for one hour and then drain. Pour Cajun seasoning in a bag and add the sunflower seeds. Close and shake the bag to coat the seeds. Remove them from the bag. Place the seeds on the cookie sheet and roast them in the oven like above.
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