1. How-to harvest the sunflower seeds
One option is to dry the seeds on the stem and this is something that starts to happen after the flowering part is actually past its best. You will see that the head of the flower is starting to sag and that is the important part. However, you need to protect the head from birds as they are going to peck away at the seeds. You also need to look out for the seeds dropping off as they dry. It's easier to collect the seeds before they drop off.
Another option is to remove the head from the stem and then put a paper bag over the top and then place it in an area where there is no air and dry. That is going to help the seeds to dry out and it is important that this happens before you go any further.
- Drying both on and off the stem is possible.
- If drying on the stem make sure you protect from birds.
- Drying off the stem involves cutting the heads off and placing in a dry area.
2. How-to remove the seeds from the head
- Make sure that the seeds are perfectly dried out before removing them.
- Place the head on a flat surface for you to then catch the seeds.
- If they are dry enough then they should be plucked off the head with ease.
- If there is any kind of resistance then it is not dry enough.
3. Rinsing the seeds
- Rinse the seeds thoroughly but never saturate them.
- Allow the seeds to then dry again after rinsing to prevent any mold problems.
- Rinsing is going to remove dirt from the seeds.
- It will also remove bacteria and any other pests or diseases.
- It makes the seeds healthier.
4. Drying the seeds
- It is best to allow the seeds to dry out naturally.
- Do not put them in plastic as that encourages moisture rather than removing it.
- Paper bags or leaving them in a dry area is going to work best.
- They need to have air moving around them to help them to dry.
- It may take more than 24 hours for them to dry correctly.
5. Get rid of plant material and debris.
- Most of the debris should be removed with the rinsing.
- Make sure that there are no leaves or anything else in the seeds.
- It is important to do this before you pack away the seeds.
6. How-to store the seeds correctly.
- It is important that the seeds are kept in an air-tight container.
- The container also has to be dark to keep the light out.
- Light will encourage germination so prevention is key.
- They can be kept in this container for up to four months.
- If you need to save it for longer, then freezing allows for up to a year.