Did you know??? You can harvest and roast your own sunflower seeds? Like a Harvest Boss!
Do you remember the 23rd night in September? The first night of fall. The first night you bid a happy “see ya, boo” to razors grazing your legs until, say – Thanksgiving – A day you’re almost 78% certain to wear a dress. And though the chicks in your family may understand and may not even judge you – Furry legs dresses just don’t go together.
It is fall. Fall! Can we talk about how awesome my hair looks right now? No? OK. Let’s talk about something else. Fall is when the temperature finally cools off and you peep at that “50 ways to tie your scarf” infographic you saved from The Pinterest.
Fall is when nature… Not dies, but sleeps for an extended period of time. Fall does this in such a beautifully artful manner, in hues of deep oranges, reds, and vibrant yellows – That your mind doesn’t register fall means there’s a Polar Vortex in the horizon. Fall comes and goes with swag. Even the clouds seem to be artfully drawn in mostly blue skies. Fall is a boss.
When I think of fall I think of apples and pumpkins and leaves. All the things inherent of the season. I think of harvest and corn. Basically I think and see what everyone else sees. I’m no different. This year, however, we harvested our first situation.
Real talk? I’m not one for gardening. I have issues with mud and dirt. It takes an insane amount of energy to keep my houseplants alive. My husband and daughter, however, are naturals to this game. My Moonbug loves dirt, doesn’t mind getting muddy. If it weren’t because she resembles us equally and so fiercely, I would swear she was switched at birth.
This summer at her insistence we planted sunflowers from seeds. I was expecting these tiny sunflowers. Instead what sprouted from the ground were these beautiful mutant ninja sunflowers which attracted so many bees. It was awesome. As they grew we wondered: Will these mutants produce sunflower seeds? We waited. And waited. And it turns out, they do. Those gigantic mutant ninja turtle sunflowers produced delicious seeds for us. A process that was both beautiful and weirdly alien. One day we had this giant flower, then this flower began to die. And as it was dying it changed and revealed rows and rows of seeds. So we harvested them, roasted them, and happily ate them.
Now, before you harvest sunflower seeds you need to make sure they’re ready.
How can you tell?
Glad you asked, homie. Flow with me.
The sunflowers will tell you. They start to droop and the petals get all dry and whatnot. Then gradually the seeds become more and more visible until they look like a raw version of the sunflower seeds you buy in the store. When this happens, remove the sunflower head from the stalk and remove the seeds. Don’t be gentle – Get all up in there.
Once the sunflower seeds are removed, brine those suckers. Some people heat brine, but I’m a lazy chick. I put my newly sunflower seeds in salt water and brine overnight. Strain the sunflower seeds from the salt water, sun dry them (or towel dry for like, ever), and roast. It’s pretty much a no brainer situation. I’m even ashamed to give you a recipe, if you can call it that.
The resulting sunflower seed situation is, in my opinion superior to commercial brands. They’re salty, but not overly so. The taste is fresh, and immensely more satisfactory. I mean, bruh – You harvested them! They’re addictive, as sunflower seeds tend to be.
It’s a boss experience. An experience that is so characteristically fall, that you need to get in on this. I suggest next year you grow sunflowers. Do it for the bees, do it for the seeds, and for the satisfaction of the harvest.
- Kosher salt - 1 - 1 1/4 cup
- Water - 1 gallon
- Sunflower seeds from 2 large sunflowers (final amount of seeds will vary)
Remove sunflower seeds from the sunflower heads by rubbing the center and sides to dislodge the seeds. Remove all the floral parts and discard. In a very large bowl, combine kosher salt and water. Stir to combine. Add the sunflower seeds and cover the bowl. Place in a cool place and allow the sunflower seeds to brine for 24 hours.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Strain the salt water from the seeds and transfer the seeds the parchment lined cookie sheet. Spread the sunflower seeds on the cookie sheet to form an even layer. Blot the excess salt water with a paper towel to remove as much water as possible and then place the cookie sheet in a sunlit area. Allow the sunflower seeds to dry in the sun for about an hour or so. Alternatively, you can dry the sunflower seeds with paper towels.
Roast the sunflower seeds:
Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit and place the sunflower seeds in the oven. Allow the sunflower seeds to roast for about 15-25 minutes, checking often and stirring the seeds every few to ensure even roasting and prevent burning.
Remove seeds from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before eating.
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