Harvest ~ Storage ~ Roasting
It's not an extremely difficult task, although it can be a tad tedious. I prefer to harvest my seeds from the head when it is fresh which reduces the chances of fungus - mold settling into the seeds, but they are actually more commonly harvested from flower heads that have been dried.
The smaller petals that were covering the seeds will have dried and begin falling out. Some of the blossom heads will be leaning down under their own weight and age.
Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
Seed Saving for Re-Planting
If you're planning on saving the seeds to replant in the spring sort through your seeds. Remove and discard any plant debris. Pick out the plumpest and healthiest looking seeds and place them in an airtight container. Be sure to label the container and store it in a cool dry location for next season.
Seeds for replanting should be replanted within a year, the coming season. After that the germination rate declines drastically, the seeds become less viable as time goes by.
Preparing Seeds for Snacks
Soak them in lightly salted water overnight. This will allow the seeds to plump out. Salt content of the water should not exceed 1/8 cup of salt per quart of water. This process can be expedited by boiling the seeds in the salted water for about an hour, however you will loose a lot of the flavor in the boiling process.
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
The seeds that you soaked overnight should be dried somewhat the next day and than spread out evenly on a baking tray. Place them in the oven and bake them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour. After removing them from the oven, place them in a bowl and add a teaspoon of butter for every cup of seeds. Season with salt, paprika, garlic or whatever your little heart desires. I like to make several batches - one just roasted and the others seasoned with various herbs and spices. One of my favorites is creole seasoning.
We can be contacted via our Facebook Page - Feel Free to post any questions or Comments.
Thank You and Happy Gardening.