Sunflowers are happy flowers. They come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, and depending on the species they can be very beneficial for certain things. Plant some to attract bees, add privacy and beauty to any yard, or plant to harvest for a fun fall activity.
One of my favorite things to do in my wildflower garden and around my yard this particular time of year is harvest sunflower seeds. It’s fun and interactive and helps keep you in touch with nature; not to mention the healthy treat you get out of them. Oh, and one of the best parts about this activity is that it’s low maintenance and requires very little tools and materials. There are several ways to do this; I’m just sharing with you the way I harvest mine. Try out a few different ways and you will find what you like best.
Depending on where you live the harvest time will be different but a general rule to follow is when the back of the sunflower turns from green to brown and the heads start to droop over the seeds should be ready to harvest.
Pruners or scissors, a bowl and strainer, salt, water, baking sheet, and parchment paper.
- The first thing you’ll do is cut the head of the sunflower off- about 4-5 inches below the sunflower. It’s best to let the head dry out for a week or so, but I’ve also harvest seeds immediately.
- Next, you will remove the seeds – I do this by hand plucking the seeds out one by one. I like to do over the strainer.
- After all the seeds are removed, rinse with cold water.
- Now place the seeds in a bowl of salt water – I don’t usually measure but a good rule to follow is a couple quarts of water to 1/3 - 1/2 cup of salt.
- The next day, dry off the seeds and spread them out on the baking sheet -roast the seeds between 300 – 325 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. If they start looking dry or being to crack it’s a sign they’re ready.
Let them cool off – crack open- and enjoy!