Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Incredible Edible Sunflower - Second Leaf

Dear Folks,

Everyone has most likely eaten sunflower seeds, or more commonly, sunflower kernels -- the shelled seed.

The seed can be eaten raw, roasted/toasted with or without spices, ground into meal/flour (even "Seed Butter" with a bit of oil and salt added), and sprouted.

Consider making my 'cracker' recipe with ground sunflower kernels.

The sprouts can be eaten raw, cooked in meals like stir-fry, or dried and ground into flour for 'sprouted' breads and other baked goods.  Like all seeds and nuts, flour from these great foods contains no gluten, so keep that in mind when baking with either the ground seed or dried and ground sprouts.

I have put together some information on the nutrition of some of the phases of the seed.  Use these as guides not absolutes.

In the pictures I am showing 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) of kernels.

Ground this results in a level but not packed 1/4 cup of meal/flour

Sprouted I wound up with just at 3/4 cup of sprouts at day 5

Sunflower Kernels (no hull)
2 tablespoons (1/8 cup)
Calories 102
Fat 9.01 grams
Protein 3.64 grams
Fiber 1.5 grams
Iron .92 mg
Calcium  14 mg
Source: USDA / NND

Sunflower Butter/Meal (ground from kernels)

2 tablespoons
Calories 197
Fat 17.66 gm
Protein 5.53 gm
Fiber 1.8 gms
Iron  1.32 mg
Calcium  20
Source:  USDA / NND

Sunflower Sprouts 

(Multiple these by factor of 3 to equal 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup
Calories 190
Fat 16 grams
Protein 6 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Iron 14 mg
Calcium 20 mg
Source: LiveStrong

Nutrition Sources:

Why Sprout?

So you might be wondering about sprouting seeds, nuts, veggies (beans etc.) and grains with all the great weather we have here in our desert gardens.

In 4 season climates, sprouting is recommended because they can have fresh greens all winter long.

Now look at our summers where we have wonderful beans, corn, sunflowers, basil, some tomatoes but little lettuce or greens.

So sprouting during our hot months of the year gives us additions to our salads, soups and stews, which are easy to do, can be made on a rotating basis of variety, and in a volume suited to the number of people in a home.

I used the good-old mason jar for sprouting my sunflowers - I have a sprout cap - plastic lid with holes to permit draining and air circulation.  However, there are some sprouting systems available that provide more flexibility and possible performance.

About the hulls/shells of sprouts - they can be either a pain or a boon depending on your preferences.  I saw a nice tip on a sprouting site the other day.  Use your salad spinner to 'de-hull' or 'de-shell' the finished sprouts.

I did not try this, but I do figure you don't want to be too forceful with the spinning, unless you plan to chop the sprouts anyway, as the force will no-doubt break them up some.

If I sprout black-oil sunflower seeds I plan on using the spinner as I KNOW those shells can be tough to get off.

I hope you have your sunflowers planted.  You can seed in through July to enjoy them all the way through fall.

My PDF calendar helps you plant / sow at the best times through the desert, edible garden year..

 -- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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