Preserving sunflower seeds involves drying and roasting the seeds to lengthen their shelf life. Seeds roasted in the shell will keep for up to a year if they are stored in an airtight container, and seeds roasted without their shell will keep for three to four months in the refrigerator.
Things You'll Need
- Sunflower seeds
- Shallow pan or baking sheet
- Salt (optional)
If you are harvesting the seeds yourself, leave them in the sunflower to dry. You can either remove the entire sunflower head and allow it to dry in a well-ventilated area or leave the flower attached to the stalk and wrap it in cheesecloth to keep away birds and squirrels. Once the seeds are dried and stiff, they should separate easily from the flower; just shake it over a bowl or run your hand across the seeds.
For salted sunflower seeds, cover seeds with water while still in the shell, and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt for every 8 cups of water. Stir to dissolve the salt and leave the seeds to soak in the solution overnight. In the morning, drain the water and leave the seeds on paper towels until thoroughly dried.
For unsalted seeds or seeds without the shells, skip the soaking process. For de-shelled seeds, remove the kernel and discard the shells.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and spread dry seeds in a shallow pan or baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until brown and crisp, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Seeds roasted in the shell will often crack while baking; this will not affect their taste or shelf life.
Cool seeds completely and place in an airtight container or plastic bag. For seeds roasted in the shell, store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. For seeds roasted without the shells, store in the refrigerator and enjoy within three to four months.
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