Sunflowers are among the world's friendliest flower. Tall and proud, they look to the sun for months until one day, heavy with seeds, they bend to permit a harvest.
Baked sunflower seeds are a time-honored snack. First enjoyed by Native Americans, they are now enjoyed around the world. Sunflower seeds are a delicious source of essential fatty acids, fiber, protein and several vitamins and minerals. Learn to bake sunflower seeds and treat yourself today!
What you'll need to bake sunflower seeds:
- 1 saucepan
- 1 cookie sheet
- 1 colander
- Paper towels or cheesecloth
- 1 cup of sunflower seeds
- 2 quarts of water
- 1/2 cup of salt or salt substitute (modify for low-sodium diets)
- 1 tbsp oil
- To bake sunflower seeds, first combine the water and salt in a saucepan. As you bring the water to a boil, rinse the sunflower seeds and ensure that extra plant material such as stems and flower petals are discarded.
- Next, add the sunflower seeds to the water. Bring the water to a brief boil. Then let it simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. The seeds will soften and absorb the salt seasoning.
- After you've boiled the sunflower seeds, do not rinse them; that will remove the salt. Drain them with paper towels or cheesecloth. Keep them in a well-ventilated area where they will dry easily.
- When the sunflower seeds are dried, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the seeds with oil and spread them onto a baking sheet.
- Bake the sunflower seeds for 25-30 minutes. Check on the sunflower seeds frequently and stir them for even toasting. Remove them from the oven when they turn slightly brown.
How can you best serve baked sunflower seeds? Baked sunflower seeds are delicious when served alone as a side dish or snack, sprinkled on salads, or added to nuts and dried fruit for trail mix. For example, an easy sunflower seed trail mix could include equal parts of toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts mixed with raisins and sweet dried cranberries.
Of course, there are many alternatives to baking sunflower seeds. One easy alternative is to sprout the seeds by nourishing them with a wet paper towel for several days. Sprouted sunflower seeds add an excellent nutty taste to salads and homemade breads. Another option is to turn shelled sunflower seeds into nut butter or bake them into breads and cookies.