How to harvest sunflower seeds
Once the petals begin to fall, it’s time to get to work.
Words: Nadene Hall
1. Wait for the petals to fall, then wrap the head of the flower in cheesecloth, tulle, or netting, and secure it with string;
2. Wait for the seed head to dry out as much as possible before harvest – when ready, seeds should fall out easily if you rub them;
3. Cut the seed head off, still wrapped, and hang or store in a dry, shady spot such as a garage or shed, until the seeds are completely dry;
4. Unwrap the head, then remove the seeds and place in a storage container.
5. To remove the hard, brittle hull from around the seeds, place handfuls in a mortar and pestle and gently rotate the pestle head for 5-10 minutes. Some people use a rolling pin, or a manual grain mill on the widest setting.
Once all the hulls are cracked, tip everything into a flat dish or tray. Use a hairdryer on cool to winnow the lighter hulls – it blows them away, leaving the heavier seeds behind.