Amazing Mother Nature…from 2 tiny seeds

Sunflowers are my favorite flowers, I have always loved them but a trip to Tuscany 10 years ago really sealed that love. I had never seen fields of sunflowers like I saw there.

Every year since 2010 I have planted sunflowers either at the edge of my vegetable garden or in the beds near the house. Some years they all grew…some years the squirrels got the seeds or the new shoots. However, none can beat the 2 seeds that grew into the “sunflower trees” pictured in this blog. Nature is awesome! And, in this very strange year of 2020, it is nice to see something grow beyond expectation.

So what does one do with all these sunflower pods? Well, I plan to save many, give to friends, feed the birds this winter and grow again next year. Some may be added to baked goods (oatmeal sunflower cookies, breads), vegetables, mixed with granola, or top a salad. (https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_in_shell_sunflower_seeds/)
Sunflowers, according to healthline.com provide the following health benefits: may help lower blood pressure, Vitamin E, magnesium, protein. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sunflower-seeds

So, how do you get those seeds out?
My procedure is to cut the flower head once it is loses its petals and droops; then, let sit for a day or so.
I put on my garden gloves, grab two bags – plastic or paper and perhaps a glass of wine as well. Then I sit on my porch, rub the head with my gloved palm over one bag to loosen the seeds. Hopefully, I am able to catch the seeds before they go into the “compost bag.” I then rinse the seeds and dry them on paper towels or kitchen towels to eliminate moisture. The seeds for growing next year need to be well dried so no mold develops. The seeds for roasting will have the moisture removed when heated.

Can you find the lamp post in that picture? These plants dwarfed it weeks ago. I thought perhaps I had seeds from Jack and the Beanstalk!

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