By Deborah S. Tukua, co-author, Pearls of Garden Wisdom.
When sunflowers start drooping, don’t despair. Summer may be over, but those breathtaking flowers offer a tasty treat that can pick you up, even on a cold, fall day.
Here are some easy steps to harvest, collect and roast the seeds.
Sunflower seeds are ready to harvest when the flower petals start to fall off, the heads start to droop and the backs begin to turn a yellowish brown.
Collecting and Drying the Seeds~
To collect the seeds from the sunflower plant, cut the head off the stem and place in a paper sack, pantyhose, muslin bag or pillowcase. Hang to dry in a warm spot, free from dampness, yet with some air circulation. The rafters in your barn, garage, greenhouse, tool shed or attic are a great place for drying sunflower seed heads, herbs, and cut flowers.
Remove sunflower seeds from the paper sack once dried and lay between two mesh screens to dry for a few more days before storing. To save some seed for next year’s planting, store in a cedar box.
Roasting Sunflower Seeds~
When seeds are dry and shelled, add 2 cups of dry seeds to a bowl with 1 ½ T. Sunflower oil or melted butter, 1 t. salt and ½ t. Worcestershire sauce or Liquid Aminos (opt.). Stir until all the seeds are thoroughly coated. Place seeds on a baking sheet and roast for 30 min. at 275°F. oven, stirring often through the roasting process.