Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Magic of Sunflowers

The lovely sunflower you see on the right was grown by granddaughters Alivia and Ashlyn...isn't it positively glorious?

Sunflowers are such an interesting flower.  Even Van Gogh couldn't resist painting one!  A few interesting facts about the sunflower include that for one thing it is native to the Americas. 

It is an annual plant and possesses a large flowering head.  It is named for its ability to follow the sun in the course of the day.  The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed rough leaves and circular heads of flowers.  The heads consist of many individual flower which mature into seeds, often in the hundreds on one base.  The seeds were taken to Eurpoe in the sixteenth century, where along with sunflower oil they became a widespread cooking ingredient.
The sunflower can be used as cattle feed, and the stems contain a fiber which cn be used in making paper.

So, not only are they lovely to look at, but they are a useful plant as well.  Lots of people eat the seeds of the sunflower seeds as snacks, and birds absolutely love these delicious seeds.

So if you want to grow a beautiful, fun plant that can serve more than one purpose in your garden, why don't you try the sunflower.  It's beauty will impress you.

For making your own salty snack for those ball games and picnics here is a great recipe:


  1. 1
    Place water and salt in a saucepan.
  2. 2
    Rinse sunflower seeds and remove any plant or flower head matter.
  3. 3
    Add sunflower seeds to water& salt in pan.
  4. 4
    Bring water to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
  5. 5
    Simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  6. 6
    When done, strain water& seeds through collander& allow seeds to dry on paper toweling.
  7. 7
    Do not rinse.
  8. 8
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  9. 9
    Spread seeds on a cookie sheet& bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. 10
    Stir frequently.
  11. 11
    Remove from oven when seeds are slightly browned& fragrant.
  12. 12
    NOTE: for salt free seeds, simply eliminate the first 7 steps& go straight into oven preparation (Step 8).

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