Sunflowers are a great addition to any schoolyard garden. Not only do they add beauty to your garden over the summer, they also provide a tasty treat for children when they return to school in the fall. Ready around September, sunflower seeds are an enjoyable and familiar snack that you can prepare with your students.
First, make sure that your school has access to an oven. Once you notice the sunflowers in your garden starting to droop, and the leaves behind the head of the flower turning brown, the seeds will start pushing out and becoming loose from the flower. This is when they are ready to enjoy!
- Start by cutting off the flower from the stock, leaving at least four inches of the stem. The seeds will come out more easily if the head sits out to dry for a few days, but this step is not necessary. Over a large bowl, use your fingers to pry the seeds from the head. If you and your students won’t be roasting them right away, the sunflower seeds should be stored in a covered container in a cool, dry place.
- Fill the bowl of sunflower seeds with water and salt, adding about 1/8 cup of salt for each quart of water. Soak the seeds overnight.
- After the seeds have soaked, rinse the seeds in a strainer. Spread the seeds on a few layers of paper towels or a clean washcloth. Allow the seeds to dry for a few hours before roasting them.
- Once the seeds are dry, spread them evenly on a baking sheet and bake them at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, checking on the seeds regularly. After baking, put the seeds in a bowl, season with salt, add butter if desired, and enjoy!