Sunflowers are a favorite for kids of all ages. Not only are they fun to grow, they’re also great to eat – that is - if you can beat the birds and squirrels to the seeds.
Protect your harvest from these critters by covering the flowers with a paper bag, cheesecloth or season extending fabric as the seeds begin to form.
The seeds are ripe and ready to harvest when the back of the flower head is banana yellow or brown and most of the yellow petals are dry.
This is also when you can easily rub the fluffy covering off the plump seeds that have developed their characteristic gray stripes.
You can eat them fresh or hang the harvested flowerheads upside down in a warm dry place to dry. Remove the seeds by rubbing your hand over the face of the flower.
Roast some seeds for a fun snack. Store unroasted seeds in a cool dry place. Shelled sunflower seeds can last several months or longer if placed in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Make sure to take a few photos before harvesting your sunflower seeds. They make great family memories!
And here are a few tips to roast your sunflowers into a special treat. Remove the seeds from the shell and place a single layer of the raw seed kernels in a shallow pan. Roast the seeds in a 300º oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the seeds are crisp and brown. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from the oven and add a teaspoon of melted margarine per cup of seeds if desired. Stir to coat and place on a piece of absorbent paper. Salt to taste.
For more fall gardening tips and videos visit: http://www.melindamyers.com/garden-tips/melindas-videos.html
Also be sure to join me on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Boerner Botanical Gardens for these great fall events. Sign up by by Oct 1 for the family fun walk and you'll receive a reduced admission price: