Learn how to roast sunflower seeds at home with this step-by-step tutorial — from planting the flower and harvesting the seeds to roasting and storing.
Salty, nutty goodness.
That’s what packed into one of those tiny sunflower seeds, along with plenty of vitamins and protein. And with the addition of magnesium and amino acid, these little seeds have a reputation of making you feel cheery while reducing headaches, tensions and improving your mood. What a powerful little snack these seeds are.
This year we planted 8 mammoth sunflowers in our backyard. We lost one due to not watching where I was stepping … whoops! Sorry little seedling. A couple didn’t grow to their full potential but the rest turned out great! After harvesting and roasting the sunflowers seeds, we had over a half gallon of them stored in our pantry.
These sunflower nuts make a great on-the-go snack. They fit well into a bento box. My husband loves taking them to work to munch. They give him energy, while filling his belly and keeping him entertained snapping the shells open to get to the seeds.
Growing edible sunflower seeds is a healthy, budget friendly snack. If you grow them you’ll know exactly how they were treated. No harsh chemical sprays, only organic seeds and no added preservatives. Just all natural nutrients straight from your own backyard.
Oh and should I mention a bonus? By growing sunflowers you’ll have pollinators around your property all summer long. Which is great for homesteaders who love to garden.
How to Harvest Your Sunflower Seeds
How do you know when sunflower seeds are ready to be harvested? When the sunflower head begins to droop, you know the seeds inside are maturing. As they finish maturing the petals will dry and fall off. The stalk will start to fade and turn a dull green with tints of brown. This is the prime time to harvest those sunflower heads. Here in Ohio where we live, the heads are typically ready to be picked in September or early October.
To remove the head from the stalk, grab a pair of gardening clippers and lop off the head from the top of the stalk. If the head is dry, you can immediately begin removing the seeds from the head. If the back of the sunflower is damp, place in a dry, well ventilated area in your home or garage for a few days to allow the moisture to dry up.
Once the head is dry, you can remove the the zillions of dead flowers that sit on top of the seeds. I like to do this either outside on the deck or on our front porch so that the mess is easy to clean up. Next, remove the seeds by brushing your hands across the top to loosen the seeds. Bending the head like you’re popping ice cubes out of a tray is also a great way to push the seeds out.
Watch Video Tutorial
Roasted and Salted Sunflower Seed Recipe
Now that you have successfully removed the seeds, the next step is to get them roasted and salted. There are various ways to do this but I find the easiest way, without many steps, is to simply soak them in a salt water brine, then roast them in the oven. The recipe below is for 1-2 sunflower heads but the salt can easily be adjusted depending on your preference.
Seeds from one sunflower head
2 Tbs salt (I prefer Himalayan pink salt)
Steps to Roast Sunflower Seeds
Place your sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the seeds. Cover with water and soak overnight (12-18 hours is best). The seeds will float to the top so occasionally give them a light stir to be sure that every seed is throughly soaked in the salt water.
After the seeds have been soaked, it’s time to get them roasted. Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a colander, drain the water from the seeds. Remove any excess water by patting them with a kitchen towel.
Place the seeds in a single layer on the baking sheet. If there isn’t enough room for all of the seeds, grab another sheet. Roast the seeds for 45 minutes to one hour. They will be ready to eat when the shells begin to barely turn a light brown color and the seeds inside are a golden brown. Cracking a shell open and doing a taste test is the best way to know if the seeds have finished roasting.
Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an air tight container such as a mason jar. Your seeds will last a long time provided they are stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.