We grew sunflowers in the backyard garden this year and they were really fun! They first grew taller than the espalier apple tree, then they nearly reached the eaves. They were taller than me and definitely taller than my dog Squirrely who was cherry picking the tomatoes, strawberries, and apples that dropped over our fence. Passing the sunflowers every day was a bright point of my summer. When they blossomed they were always humming with activity, a good home to bees and tiny bugs. Eric harvested them about two weeks ago, and yesterday he and Em gathered the seeds. Now they're ready to be saved for planting, snacks, and a handful will be saved for the birds at Christmas. Here are some pics courtesy of the garden:
I'm going to follow the National Sunflower Association's recipe for roasting sunflowers.
Roasted Sunflower Seeds
The recipe says you can soak the seeds in salt water, but I'm going sans salt this year so I'll just give them a quick wash and rinse. Bake at 300 degrees spread on a cookie sheet for 30-40 minutes. Stir. Depending on the family vote and how long we want them around for snacking I may add a teaspoon of butter and seasoning when I take them out of the oven.
Update: Sun 9:06 p.m.
We have sunflower seeds, toasted, buttered, and salted (so much for "no salt.") with popcorn salt. And yup, they taste like sunflower seeds, but talk about "local grown!"