Ahh, the beautiful sunflower. While many know it's the perfect Instagram background, few understand the food beauty in these giant flowers and their seeds. In fact, it's pretty easy to make weeks worth of sunflower seed snackage with just one sunflower head!

That's right, sunflower seeds. The flower is full of 'em whether you use them or not, so why not eat 'em? They are an easy to-make snack and healthier than the store bought versions that are loaded with salt and other chemical preservatives

What you need:  

Sunflower Seeds

A roasting device such as an oven  (or anything that can produce at least 400 F)

Salt (optional, I personally like the subtle nutty flavor of the seeds alone... but I'm also a nutty person)


1 cup of sunflowers seeds

Water to cover

3 tbs of salt or more (if you want to salt them, I advise putting it in the water so it soaks through the shell into the seed

Step 1: Remove seeds from the sunflower

For being such a massive flower, I've only seen squirrels hanging out around this great source of food. Why's that you might ask? Sunflowers seeds are made to be eaten by tiny creatures. 

They have nimble little paws to grasp each large seed. Humans do not have that luxury.

JJ Meyer

Removing the seeds is definitely the most annoying part. What I recommend is that you take the flat of your palm and massage one area of the flower until the seeds start to disconnect from the head. Once you get a couple seeds out you'll have the space to start pushing seeds out from the side with your thumbs and fingers.

Another thing that helps (if you have patience) is leaving them in a paper bag in the sun until the green stem turns brown because then the seeds just fall out.

Step 2: Sterilize and cook the seeds

Cooking the seeds is pretty easy as long as you're not a fool like me. Don't leave them in the water for extra time because you have other stuff to do. They end up getting all soggy, trust me.

It's important that they absorb some water so they don't burn, but a 15 minute simmer is more than enough time. Strain them and move on, otherwise the baking process will take much longer than expected

Step 3: Shake and Bake

JJ Meyer

So now you've got your cooked and sterilized seeds out on baking sheets. From this point you get to go wild, spice wild.

Add cumin, cayenne, anything that interests you. (Or if you're not in the mood for a creative risk follow one of these trail mix spice blends.) Salt is always a good standby and now's your chance to choose just how much you want for once. Remember that you're the master of your sunflower seed future!

A fun little twist I've found is adding a touch of brown sugar and salt. The molasses from the brown sugar melts out and creates a nice little candy coating. I only used a sprinkling though since I don't want a ton of calorie intake while I'm munching on sunflower seeds.

Whatever spices you choose, leave these in the oven for at least 10 minutes, then flip them over and cook them again (otherwise one side will be wet and one side will be dry). 

Step 4: Make your own sunflower seed snack mix (optional)

JJ Meyer

Why let you sunflowers sit all by their lonesome when you could liven up the party with some dried fruit, popcorn, or... chocolate? The snack world is crazy creative and trail mix is a blessing on those long work days because it gives you a ton of complementary flavors all in one bag.

SpoonTip: If you don't shell the sunflower seeds, putting them in trail mix could get chewy.

But that's all for this week! Hope you enjoyed reading this and good luck in your own food adventures.