The sunflower seed is the fruit produced by a sunflower plant. With bright beautiful flowers that bloom in-between mid-summer to fall, the sunflower is the ultimate summer plant. In this blog article, I have covered various ways that you implement harvesting sunflower seeds.
Let us discuss how to harvest sunflower seeds in details along with below topics.
- how to harvest sunflower seeds for planting
- how to harvest sunflower seeds commercially
- how to harvest sunflower seeds for birds
- how to roast sunflower seeds
- why are my sunflower seeds white
- how to shell sunflower seeds
- what to do with sunflower seeds
- what to do with sunflower heads.
How Do I Know When Sunflower Seeds Are Ready To Harvest?
There are several ways in which you can know whether the sunflower seeds you have planted are ready to be harvested. Growing sunflowers is easy but harvesting the seeds and knowing when the seeds are ready to be harvested is an exact science.
It’s essential to harvest when the flower’s petals are drying up and falling off. Gathering when the back of the flower is gradually turning brown is a good idea too.
If you wait too long to harvest, the seeds might dry out of their kernels and might get picked up by birds and other animals. Keep the following in mind:
- Always harvest your seeds when they are developed and look plump.
- When the flower petals are beginning to dry up and the fallout, that’s when you should harvest your seeds
- However, if you are leaving the stem intact, you can harvest your sunflower seeds when the back of the flower turns brownish in color.
Apart from these above tips follow below steps in order to begin Harvesting Seeds
#1 Choose The Appropriate Method Of Harvesting Seeds
It’s okay to let seeds develop on the stem and then harvest them when they begin to look loosened.
Once it gets to this moment, it’s best to cover the fruits with ethernet or paper to keep the fruits safe away from birds.
For good storage, you can let the seeds dry before taking them to the storage room; that way, you are sure that it wouldn’t get worse while it is in your storeroom.
#2 Enjoy Your Harvest, After All, The Hard Work
Once you’re through with the collection of your seeds, you can go ahead and eat them.
You can even decide to roast them with a pinch of salt on them depending on how you want it or decide to keep them for the next planting season.
Store dried sunflower in a container for 2-3 months without getting wrong, or you can choose to hold it in the refrigerator for one year.
Should I Soak Sunflower Seeds Before Planting?
It is an old trick in the gardener’s handbook to soak your seeds before planting them. This is because by soaking them, you significantly decrease the amount of time it takes the seed to germinate and grow eventually.
A seed is made in such a way that it is resistant to cold, heat, fire and winds. It can also survive in very dry and very wet conditions to give birth to new life.
Hence, when you soak the seed in water, you are giving it a nurturing platform to give it the opportunity to lower its defenses and begin to germinate.
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How To Harvest Sunflower Seeds For Planting?
How do you harvest sunflower seeds for planting? Sunflowers are the gardener’s delight because of their wonderful beauty and useful products. It is also easy to harvest sunflowers for baking and replanting, thus making them very versatile and delicious. Here are the steps that you need to follow if you are harvesting sunflower seeds for planting:
- Cutting your sunflower seeds – Once your sunflowers have dried, you should cut the stalk with sharp tools about one foot down from the head of the flower. Hence, you can place the stalk in a container to catch any loose seeds that may fall out
- Hang them out to dry – If you’re worried about birds outside, you can also hang your sunflowers indoors to dry. If they aren’t ready for harvest, you can also tie them together with twine and hang them to dry in a warm area for about 5 days and nights.
- Harvesting and removing the seeds – In this process, a lot of people prefer to wear gloves. To get the seeds, firmly rub the seed head over a bucket. You can remove the unwanted matter you get during this process later on. Do not worry about that.
- Storing sunflower seeds and preparing them for replanting – If you’re planning on replanting the seeds, simply rinse them in a colander and pick out the unwanted matter that might have fallen into the mix. Line a shallow cardboard box with newspaper or tissue paper. Now, scatter the seeds in a single layer over this paper box and leave them to dry. Once they have fully dried, you can replant them on your farm.
How To Harvest Sunflower Seeds Commercially?
When talking about harvesting Sunflower seeds for commercial purposes, it has to do with large scale harvest whereby mechanized equipment is employed to make the work easier.
So harvesting sunflower seeds for commercial purposes has to do with motorized material types that can easily crush the plant stalks and send them directly to the processed field.
Those stalks that aren’t cut off during the harvesting with the roots will be destroyed by the harrows later. Both mechanized & agricultural types of equipment help in harvesting and enhancing production.
If you’re looking to harvest sunflower seeds commercially, you must keep certain things in mind. Firstly, the most effective sunflower seed harvest is done when the plants are at the top of their maturity cycle.
If the plant is becoming brown over time and its leaves, body, and anthodium are getting browner, the plant seeds have accumulated the highest quantity of oil possible.
Hence, you must start harvesting. To accelerate the maturity of the sunflower seeds and to exclude the influence that weather conditions have on them, you must spray them regularly. The regular spraying that you do has the following result:
- Reduces the vegetative period of the sunflower crop.
- Allows you to avoid rains.
- The productivity of the harvesting equipment also increases.
How To Harvest Sunflower Seeds For Birds?
If you are making sunflower seeds for the purposes of making your own bird food, you must follow some procedures.
- Cut off the entire flower head when the flowers have matured and the back has turned brown. Now, place the entire flower in a net bag and hang the bag upside down.
- The bag should be hung in a place that is both relatively warm and dry so that air circulation is high. Seeds will keep dropping out of the bag as they dry.
- When the majority of the seeds have fallen out, get the rest of the seeds out by banging the bag against a table or a wall. After this process has completed, the seeds are ready for birds to eat.
How To Roast Sunflower Seeds?
The process is straightforward; all you need to do is to follow the process to roast sunflower seeds:
- Soak the sunflower seeds in a mixture of about 12 cups of water with 2/8 cup of salt overnight, but if you like your seeds with salt, you can take off the salt and just let your source soak in water alone.
- Many don’t have the patience to wait overnight, so the best approach is to wash your seeds in water with salt and heat it, and let it simmer for about 1 hour or 1 hour and a half.
- Use your strainer to remove the water, but you do not need to rinse it.
- Just place the seed on a towel paper and let it dry completely for about an hour, and then you can begin to bake.
- Spread the seeds on a pan (preferably a sheet pan) on the roast.
- Take them out to test every 10 minutes.
- Keep checking them until they are roasted to your satisfaction.
- Keep an eye on them because they burn very easily.
- Then you can serve yourself and eat, but if you would like more flavor to it, you can sprinkle some spices or drizzle olive oil on it.
Why Are My Sunflower Seeds White?
You can tell the dissimilarity between these two kinds of sunflowers by their seeds. Candy sunflower seeds, like the type we eat, have white bands on them. Oil-rich seed sunflower seeds are all black and usually are small.
If you have picked your sunflower seeds and you find that the seeds are totally white instead of having black stripes, that means that you harvested your flowers too soon.
This is a result of immature harvesting of the seeds and hence, they are whitish in color instead of having little black stripes. To avoid that, you should cut the flowers when they have turned brown on the back and the petals of the flowers have started drying out.
How To Shell Sunflower Seeds?
Here is an easy method to shell your sunflower seeds from their coverings if you plan to harvest them for oil making. Follow these steps:
- Place the seeds in a plastic bag. Lay the bag on its side to make sure that the seeds are all layered in a single file
- Seal the bag entirely and roll the seeds gently using a rolling pin
- Now, pour these cracked seeds in a bowl of water. The shells will rise to the surface of the water and the kernels that you want will be at the base of the bowl
- You can now remove the shells and retrieve your kernels.
What To Do With Sunflower Seeds?
Here are some of the amazing things you can do with sunflower seeds:
- Once the seeds are collected, they can be used right now for cooking, preserved, or saved for planting next.
- Add them to pieces of bread – Adds a nutty flavor.
- Sprinkle them on your baked items – Adds a bit of a crunch to cakes and muffins.
- Add them to vegetables – Use them with olive oil and spices.
- Add them to tacos – You can use sunflower seeds in the breading that is used for fish tacos. Lots of people think this is a super delicious way of using your sunflower seeds.
- You can use them in your burgers – Use them on top of your patty to make every single burger lover drool.
- You can also refrigerator your seeds. It can remain fresh when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Those reserved short terms should be used for 2-3 months.
What To Do With Sunflower Heads?
- Shield the flower’s head with a paper bag, binding the bag roughly with a cord or cotton to stop it from knocking off.
- You could also use cheesecloth or, likewise, breathable cotton, but you should never use a soft bag.
- Plastic will limit the airflow, causing wet growth on the seeds. If too much nutrient builds up, the roots may go round spoiled or musty.
- Sunflower heads can be used to extract the seeds of the sunflower for replanting or making of oil.
- Hence, these heads should be dried and hung in a net or a bag. However, this hanging should be done in a place where the air circulation is high and the temperature is warm and the humidity is low.
- Once the sunflower seeds have dried, they start falling out of the net or the bag, and then, they can be used.
Should You Cut The Heads Off Sunflowers?
The cutting off the heads of the sunflowers is a must. Several gardeners say that the cutting off of the sunflower stalk about a foot below the sunflower head is the accepted practice. This is also done to prevent the growth of new seeds. You should always incapacitate sunflowers with a sharp tool for maximum efficiency.
How To Prepare Sunflower Seeds For Eating?
Preparing sunflower seeds to eat is a simple and easy process. Have you ever wondered: Where do sunflower seeds come from? They come from the flowers of the sunflower plant. Drying sunflower seeds for eating can be done using a very simple process. Here are the steps that will tell you how to harvest sunflowers:
- Cut off the flower of the sunflower plant a foot below the flower head
- Dry the sunflower head in a net bag by hanging it in an airy and dry place
- Once the sunflower seeds have dried, they fall out of the net bag automatically
- Soak seeds in a blend of 6 cups water and ¼ cup salt all night long.
- If you like better-unsalted seeds, leave out the salt and soak seeds in water.
- If you don’t have the time to soak overnight, bring water, salt, and grains to a simmer in the oven, then turn over to a stew and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hour.
- These sunflower seeds should be shelled and roasted to eat!
Where Do Sunflower Seeds Come From?
Do you ever wonder: Where can I get sunflowers for harvesting? Guess what. You can grow them yourself! Mainly Russia and Ukraine is the sole producer of sunflower seeds in the world.
Nearly fifty percent of sunflower seeds produced in the world come from those two countries. Since the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine, Kansas is named ‘Sunflower State.’.
These seeds blossom with the growth in the flower and when the back of the flower turns brownish in color, they are harvested. The process of harvesting these seeds is as follows:
- The seeds have to be extracted from the flower at the right time. The timing for harvesting is very pertinent. You have to extract the seeds when the flower has turned brownish at the back
- When you see that the flower’s back has turned brown and when the petals are falling off, you have to cut off the stem of the sunflower about a foot down from the head
- After this is done, you need to hang these flower heads in a dry, hot and airy place for drying. After they have dried, they will fall out automatically.
How To Season Sunflower Seeds?
You can season sunflowers in many ways, according to your taste and preferences. Here is an example of smoky chilli lime sunflower seeds. Here are some spices that you can use:
- Lime juice
- Smoked paprika
- Cumin (ground)
- Cayenne Pepper (ground)
- Chilli powder
- Cracked pepper
There are different kinds of seasonings you can use depending on the flavour you’re aiming for.
How To Dry Sunflower Seeds To Eat?
You can harvest sunflower seeds in lots of ways. If you are doing so with the intention to make cakes with them or use them in some other edible manner, you have to follow the simple steps:
- Once you have harvested the seeds from the sunflower plant, they have to be dried
- They can be dried in a bag with a net in a place that is airy and dry and preferably hot
- When the seeds have been completely dried, they have to be shelled.
- Cleaning the seeds cleans them of dirt, flower particles, and other plant matter mixed in during the removal process. They need to clean and waterless again storage and consumption,
- Once the kernels are out, you can use them to satisfy any craving you have! These can be added to baked goods, they can be seasoned with different spices, and can be used to make oil too.
How Long Does It Take For Sunflowers To Grow?
There are various varieties of sunflowers, and each one of those varieties has a different rate at which they grow.
- On average, however, it takes around 80 to 120 days for a sunflower plant to germinate and mature.
- After seed germination, it takes 15-35 days for leaf and plant development.
- Growing and sunflower buds begin to form within 40 to75 days after leaf and tree development.
- Growing and sunflower buds take about 70 to 85 days to form flowers open for pollination.
- It takes 90 to 105 days for seeds are developed.
- Lastly, seeds ripen towards harvesting in 110 to 125 days.
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Well, now you are ready whether you want to how to harvest sunflower seeds for a yummy snack, or to replant them, or to feed the birds. Do share your experience of how these sunflower seed harvesting tips and tricks have worked for you.
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My name is Olivia, staying in the United States, and I love to have plants in my garden. Lots of plants are there in my balcony, indoor and outdoor garden also. Here I am trying to share useful tips on gardening, how to grow and care for various plants, etc. Check out more.