Drying and Roasting Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

After the spectacular summer flowering the petals will begin to wilt and the back of the flower will become brown. Now is the time to gather the seeds.

The simplest way (which will defy peckish birds and squirrels) is to cover the sunflower head with a paper bag, securing it to the stem with twine.

Allow the flower to continue drying inside the bag for a few weeks (replacing the bag if it gets soggy in the rain). In a few weeks snip the bagged head away from the stem and give it a good bash to dislodge the seeds so they fall into the bag. Any stubborn seeds can be picked out by hand.

The seeds can be cracked from their glossy black shells and gobbled immediately but roasting and salting the seeds will transform the simple seeds into a truly delicious crunchy snack.

What you will need

  • 2 pints of water
  • 150g salt
  • Sunflower seeds


  1. Place two pints of water and 150g salt in a saucepan
  2. Rinse a few generous handfuls of sunflower seeds and add them to the pan
  3. Bring water to a boil, then turn down to and simmer for an hour
  4. Strain away the water through colander & spread seeds onto kitchen paper to dry (don’t rinse as you’ll wash away the salt)
  5. Preheat oven to 160 °C
  6. Shake the seeds on a shallow baking sheet and roast for half an hour, shaking the tray frequently to prevent scorching
  7. When the seeds are slightly brown and have a nutty fragrance, they’re ready to eat

Recipes and inspiration