Sunflower Seeds

Being a bit (okay, a lot) of a grown-up kid, I planted a load of sunflower seeds this summer. Actually, I planted some last year too, but I planted them straight into the garden and the slugs (and mice!) ate them all before they got established. This year I grew them for a few weeks in small pots inside before planting out. Success, I now have loads of mature sunflower heads.

The roasted sunflower seed recipe is an Autumn favorite; such a great taste, it’s hard to believe how something this good, can also be good for you! So why not roast my own sunflower seed harvest! Obviously keeping a few aside for next year’s crop.

Here’s what I did…

You can begin to harvest sunflower seeds as soon as the center flowers turn brown or the backs of the heads turn yellow, to prevent birds from stealing them. Cut them, leaving a piece of stem to hang them in a well ventilated place to finish drying. Cover them with netting, paper sacks with holes or cheesecloth to catch falling seeds as they dry.

They can be allowed to dry on the stalk, but you’ll have to cover them this way to keep the birds from eating them all before you can harvest them for yourself!


  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds.
  • 2 litres of water.
  • 1/2 cup of salt.


  1. Add water and salt in a pot or saucepan.
  2. Rinse sunflower seeds and remove any plant and flowerhead matter.
  3. Add sunflower seeds to the pot.
  4. Soak the seeds in this overnight.
  5. Drain on a paper towel until dry. Do not rinse.
  6. Preheat oven to 150°C to 200°C.
  7. Spread seeds on a baking sheet and bake until completely dry.
  8. Stir frequently during the drying time; this may take three or four hours, depending on how ‘dry’ they were.
  9. Remove from oven when they turn slightly brown.
  10. If you intend to store them for any length of time, put them in jars while still warm and close tightly. They keep very well in a cool dark place.

Note: For salt free sunflower seeds, rinse seeds and go straight to step 6.

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