A Guide on How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds
Nurturing anything fills us with immense joy, whether it is a plant or an animal. Sunflowers tend to be the highlight of a garden because they are extremely sprightly.
The process of harvesting sunflower seeds is not all about removing the seeds from the head of the plant. It also involves the entire process of allowing a sunflower to bloom properly. Let’s know about the process.
The Process of Growing a Sunflower
To harvest proper seeds the sunflower first must be well grown. To grow a proper sunflower we must sow the seeds 6 inches into the ground and provide enough surface area for the sunflower to grow out perfectly. The sunflower must be placed in any area where it receives adequate sunlight and is watered daily.
Choosing the correct variety of seeds also plays a very important role in harvesting. The two typical categories are: tall and short. The categories are fit to their names, tall yields a large number of seeds that are broad and large, small yields a comparatively less number of seeds that are smaller in size.
However, sunflowers are bright yellow flowers that bring a wonderful glow to your garden. Besides being a constant source of joy to a gardener, sunflowers yield seeds. There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: high oleic, linoleic and sunflower oil seeds.
The Procedure to Harvest Sunflower Seeds
Let’s delve into the whole process of how to harvest sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are harvested from a sunflower head of a sunflower plant. The best time to harvest sunflowers is in the morning, they should not be harvested post noon. The green base of the head tends to turn yellow or may gradually turn brown. They are extracted from the head of a sunflower when the plant starts to droop down towards the ground and has dried out.
The petals of the plant start to dry out as well but the seeds must be harvested at a point when the petals are dry but still retain their yellow color. The petals may begin to fall off. The flower must not be so dried up that we are unable to roast the seeds. There should be a little moisture retained in the flower so that the flower can be dried indoors and later roasted or replanted. Each sunflower can contain as many as 1000-1200 seeds.
First, the stem must be cut at 4 inches from the head of the sunflower so that it can be allowed to hang indoors for drying.
The next step is to place the sunflower head or heads in a clean brown paper bag indoors and the head of the sunflower must be turned upside down so that they can dry out properly. Keep checking the paper bag for insects that may accumulate on the outer part of the bag. This step is crucial as leaving the sunflower heads out in the open; exposed to the sun dries them out too much and seeds may lose all their moisture and become unfit for roasting and further consumption.
After that, clean the sunflower heads to extract the seeds. To clean the head, we run our thumb gently over its surface, removing all the little sunflower heads that are protruding out. It is essential to brush the head properly to expose the seeds. The sunflower heads may contain small bugs. The seeds will normally bear a smooth texture, they may look plump and the seeds’ coats tend to have little black stripes. However, this may depend on the variety. Some of these may be completely black. And finally, plant it properly in a location containing well-draining soil.
The Uses of Sunflower Seeds
Now, you know how to harvest sunflower seeds. These seeds are of a mild, nutty flavor and a firm but delicate texture. They’re often roasted to enhance the flavor or consumed directly. They are very conveniently available in the market. Sunflower seeds come from the large flower heads of the sunflower plant. The edible variety has a mild, nutty flavor. They are crunchy and some are a little hard. Sunflower seeds have very high nutritional value and are a very healthy alternative to midday snacks. There are multiple uses of the sunflower seeds:
- You can eat the sunflower seeds right away. The seeds have exceptional health benefits.
- You can roast them with a little salt and consume them.
- You can save some to plant for next season.
- They can be used in smoothies and shakes
- They can be used as a dressing on salads to give a crunchy flavor.
- They can be used in keto meals. There are several delicious keto breakfast ideas where you can add sunflower seeds.
- The seeds can be eaten with ice creams, yogurts, and oatmeal porridge.
How to Store the Sunflower Seeds
After a detailed discussion on how to harvest sunflower seeds, you must know how to store them. You can store sunflower seeds for 2-3 months in a sealed container, or up to a year if kept in the freezer.
Bottom the Line
So, here is the complete guide on how to harvest sunflower seeds. Harvested Sunflower seeds can be replanted in the same way. However, most people prefer homegrown seeds as they are fertilizer-free and yield sunflowers in full bloom. They are generally better in quality. Taking out sunflower seeds is an enjoyable process. Since it is simple and fun and the result is very nutritious and tasty. Thus, people generally prefer harvesting them at home than paying for them in shops.