Ice Fishing Sunflower Seeds

 ......or Road Trip Sunflower Seeds
 ......or Fly Fishing Sunflower Seeds
 ......or Redneck Sunflower Seeds?  :-)

     Whatever you want to call them, you'll never get fat eating roasted in the shell sunflower seeds.  They are fun to eat when you want to stay awake, or just give your mouth a work out, or if you like to spit; but you sure won't eat them fast enough to get fat!

     Three years in a row I have tried to dry sunflower seeds.  This is the first year I have a harvest.  Oh, they've grown just fine all 3 years.  The harvesting is the tricky part.  Harvest too early -- the seed doesn't develop inside the hull.  Harvest too late -- the birds have a feast.  According to the National Sunflower Association you are suppose to let the sunflower head dry on the stem.  I'm thinking that just doesn't work for mammoth sunflowers.  Every year they have molded on me before drying, whether I leave them on the stem or cut the head off and try to dry them in the garage.  The black oil sunflowers I did let dry on the stems.  When I went to harvest them I realized the finches had eaten their winter supply of bird seed a smidge early!  They were 90 % gone.

     This year I harvested my mammoth sunflowers and took the seed off the head right away.  I let them dry in the house on newspaper.  Finally I have a harvest.  Some will be bird seed for the winter, some will be chicken food when it's 20 below zero (I only feed small amounts of sunflowers when it's really cold out, otherwise there is just too much fat in them for feeding to chickens in any amount.), and some have been roasted in the shell .

These sunflower seeds have been drying about 3 weeks now.
There is about 1 1/2 qts. of seed.  I sifted out the chaff.

There was plenty of stuff I didn't want mixed in.
     The National Sunflower Association says to cover the unshelled seeds with salted water using 1/4 - 1/2 cup of salt per 1/2 gal. of water.  The first batch I made I used 1/4 cup salt per 1/2 gal. of water.  I didn't want them too salty, but I thought they ended up not salty enough, so this time I used the 1/2 cup of salt.

I rinsed the seeds well before putting them in the salted water.
I weighted the seeds into the water with a dish, and let them soak overnight.

     In the morning I drained off the water, added 3 TBL. of melted butter, sprinkled some seasoned salt to taste (at least 1 TBL) and mixed it well so every seed was coated.  I spread them evenly over a cookie pan and baked them in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.  I stirred them about every 10 minutes.

     The first batch of seeds I roasted, I thought I would slow roast them.  So, I put the oven at 300 degrees and roasted them till golden.  Turns out it is harder to get the seeds out that way.  The second batch I roasted at 350 degrees.  At this temperature the hulls get very crispy, so when you crack it open in your mouth the seed just pops right out.  Much easier to eat them if you don't have to work that seed out of the shell.

I'm very happy with the results.
I have visions of grandchildren spitting sunflower shells......


Linked To: Farm Friend Friday


Candy C. said...

Those look great! I'm glad you were finally able to get a harvest!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this wonderful how-to with roasting sunflower seeds and also the tip about not overfeeding sunflower seeds to the chickens. I have also seen my seeds devoured by finches, but that was alright since I planted them for the birds. I hadn't actually thought about harvesting the seeds for us until now, but I should. My son eats them like candy! And what a good, nutritious snack!

Intentional Living Homestead said...

My dh loves sunflower seeds. So glad you got a harvest this year.

Kelly said...

That is so neat, I've always wondered how that was done!

Michaele said...

Good job! Those look really good. I offered some to my chickens and they still haven't eaten them. I think they are too big.

dr momi said...

Thanks for commenting everyone!

Ronda...if you plant sunflowers to roast, plant the mammoth, the black oil sunflowers I plant for the wild birds over winter, and they would be the best for the little winter feeding I do for the chickens too.

Michaele....the mammoth sunflowers could be too big for smaller chickens....or there might not be any seed in the hulls? If the seed hasn't developed it's amazing how the chickens know that.

Teresa said...

How fun! I'd love to try this, but any sunflower I've had around here has been eaten by the goats while they are still flowers.

Millie said...

Oh, yummy! I love sunflowers!

Anonymous said...

this is a great idea! i always wondered about this!

mountain mama