Ok, this is going to be more of a Do What I Say and Not What I Do post; I'm sure you mothers out there can relate.
So, as we all know, I planted a few sunflowers in my garden this year, and, they grew, produced seeds, and drooped, at which point, I cut the heads from the stalks and hung them up to dry before harvesting the seeds for roasting.
I'm relatively confident that drying the heads as long as I did prior to harvesting the seeds was my main mistake. By the time I tried to pry the seeds loose from the dried heads, the husks that surround the seeds in the head also came loose, which meant that I had a lot of dried debris mixed in with the seeds. The debris proved impossible to separate from the seeds, so, now that the seeds have been roasted, we are having to pick through them to avoid accidentally eating the husks.
That's sort of a pain in the ass.
If I had it to do again (and, I do!), I would pull the seeds from the heads while they were still somewhat green. I did this with an early batch, and, there is no husky nonsense going on with those seeds (I'm saving them for a dill pickle flavored recipe that Queen B has requested; we'll see how that works out).
Anyway, do yourself a favor and don't let your sunflowers get too dry before you harvest the seeds. Also, please pretend that I followed my own advice (Chelle: Making culinary mistakes so YOU don't have to!).
Step One: Loosen seeds from sunflower heads and collect in a bowl.
Step Two: Rinse seeds, thoroughly.
Step Three: Soak seeds in saltwater; I used approximately a cup of salt for three quarts of water, divided between two pots, because one pot wasn't big enough for all my seeds. The seeds should soak at least 12 hours, and, up to 24.
Step Four: Place seeds on ungreased cookie sheets and roast at 400 degrees for twenty minutes or so, checking the seeds and shaking the pan occasionally to prevent burning. This step may take more or less time, depending on the moisture content of your seeds; mine proved especially stubborn and it took almost thirty minutes for them to become toasty and to snap when bitten into.
Step Five: Cool on cookie sheets and then transfer to a pretty bowl, or, to a cool graphic bag, if you happen to have one that you purchased a decade ago and that has been gathering dust as a display piece on top of your kitchen cabinets. Just me? Oooo-kay, then.
That's it. Homegrown sunflower seeds to tide you over for the winter, assuming you are either a pioneer from the 1800's or a Doomsday Prepper.
Wait, are you a Doomsday Prepper? Because I find that shit fascinating! We should talk.