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Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

3-4 sunflower heads that are past bloom
6– 8 cups of water (adjust according to bucket size)
1/4 cup kosher salt
Clean bucket/ container & cutting shears
Paper towels and cookie sheet or shallow box
Spices of choice, cooking spray if desired

How to harvest the sunflower heads:
Use sunflower heads that have died back in your garden or come pick them on our farm. You will know that they are ready for harvesting when thebacks of the blooms turn brown, the petals have shriveled up and the seeds appear plump and loose in the head.

Cut the flower head from the stalk and place upside down in a bucket. Remove the petals andother sunflower matter and discard. Rub the seed head over bucket to remove all of the seeds, pick through to remove anything other than the seeds.
Compost the remaining sunflower matter.

Fill the bucket of seeds with water and salt and allow to soak overnight.
Strain the seeds the next day and dry on paper towels for several hours.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 20 minutes or until seeds are slightly browned, crisp and fragrant. For best results turn the seeds with a spoon or spatula during baking. Add a very light spritz of olive oil and spices at this stage if desired or enjoy as is. Store in airtight container for a week or two.

Farm Kitchen Tip: If your seed heads are not quite ready for harvest you may cut the stalk from the flower head and tie together with twine and hang to dry for a few days. Then follow above instructions for harvesting seeds. If desiring to dry seeds for replanting or using for animal food simply rinse seeds and allow seeds to dry on paper towels overnight. Once dried they are ready to plant or use for animal food.

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