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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The Incredible Edible Sunflower - Third Leaf

Dear Folks,

On my series on the edible sunflower I am now focusing on the edible flower bud.

Sunflower Bud Taste Test  - April 25, 2015

The unopened flower is edible.

The general recommendations I had found was to first boil for 3 minutes, drain, then steam or boil until tender.

I cut 6 buds, 4 from one sunflower 2 from another (those 2 are the smaller ones).

I cut the bottom off 2 of the larger ones.

On the other 2 larger ones I left the bottom (bit of stem), but took off the first row of calyx petals from the buds.  This is like removing the very tough outer leaves of an artichoke head/flower.

I started 2 pots of water to a boil.

Boiled for 3 minutes, drained and immediately put into the second pot and boiled for 2 minutes, then drained.  Put the pot back on the hot burner and melted a bit of salted butter, tossed in the sunflower buds and swirled to coat.

I cut the 4 larger buds in half to show the inside and provide sampling for Deane and I.  (Note: The inside looks lavender in color - this sunflower is a red one - the yellow variety should show yellow or golden.)

On the buds I left the outer calyx leaves on - we noticed a bit more bitterness than the ones where I removed them.

The very small ones were not distinguishable.

I had tossed into the boiling water, the remainder of the true leaves and they did not have the bitter bite of the raw ones (we tasted before I cooked them).

Everyone's tastes are going to be different.  Some folks may find a second boil before the final boil (a total of 3 boils) is needed to remove all bitterness.

I would also consider salting the final water (or you can salt at the table).

Deane said it best, it is not "as good" as artichoke hearts but the flavor of the artichoke is there.  A useful substitute for artichoke hearts if you have an abundance of sunflowers.

If you have an abundance of sunflowers, using some of the buds for an occasional side dish will add a different flare to your meal.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady 

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