By Montana Grant

Posted: August 27, 2022

Sunflower season is here. These brightly colored plants are beautiful, bright, and full of flavor. These abundant seeds will brighten your day and feed critters too! Tree stand, or hunting blind hunters often Spit Seeds when afield. Fishermen also enjoy seeds when on the water. 

On a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota, I remember watching the sun go down over a huge field of Sunflowers. Shooting time had ended and we were just relaxing when suddenly waves of pheasants began flying out of the sunflowers. Literally hundreds of birds were flying into the cover we had spent the day hunting. The sunflower fields were off limits until they were harvested. When sunflower fields get cut, doves also show up in great numbers.

Sunflowers offer amazing nutrition to wild birds and people. They can be eaten raw or roasted. These high fat snacks contain tons of micronutrients, 9 vitamins, and 7 minerals. They can be harvested when the heads turn brown or dark yellow. Cut the huge heads from the plant and allow them to hang and dry.

To remove the dried seeds, shake the heads inside a large bucket until they fall off. Once just the seeds and shells are left, you can add flavor to them or just enjoy them plain. Spitting seed shells is part of the seed eating routine. 

To remove the shells, place them in a single layer inside a bag. Now use a roller to crack the shells. Place them into a water bucket so that the shells float away, and the seeds sink to the bottom.

Now simply allow the seeds to dry. You can use them in salads, soups, cookies, butters, breads, and crackers. Birds do not eat sunflower seed shells. They use their beaks to crack the shells off. Wherever you have sunflowers, the dropped seeds will replant the area for next year’s crop.

To roast the sunflower seeds, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a baking tray with parchment or foil. Arrange the seeds in a single layer and roast for 10-15 minutes. Remove the seeds and allow them to cool. You can store or freeze the seeds for up to a year. Just monitor the seeds for any mold. You can also roast seeds on top of the stove in a large skillet.

Flavorings can be sprinkled on top the seeds. Try using seasoned salt, Old Bay, or other powdered seasoning that you enjoy.

Spit seed shells all year!

Montana Grant

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