Right now is the time to gather your sunflowers before the bird's feast on them. The key is to know when they are ready:
1) Are the flowers starting to drop?
2) Are the fuzzy florets easy to rub off?
3) Are the birds around all the time?
If you answered yes to 2 of the 3 questions - it's time to cut the sunflowers.
Now, the question is what do you want to do Save seeds for the birds or roast them to snack on during the long Winter. Well, lets do both.
Harvesting and drying sunflowers:
Cut sunflowers off close to the stem and dry off. You can put them in a paper bag in a warm spot in your home and let them dry on their own. However, I prefer to dry my seeds in the oven. If you want to do that here's how:
1) Rub off florets.
2) Push off seeds. Thumbs work well.
3) Put seeds on a cookie sheet and bake in a 70-degree oven for 2 hours. Leave in the oven for 6 hours or overnight to cool.
Your seeds should be dry, if not repeat. Seeds can be stored in an airtight container and are perfect for your bird feeder.
But, if you want to roast some for eating - here's how.
1) In a good size pot add 1/4 cup of salt to 1-quart of water. You will need to repeat the amount until you have enough to cover all of your seeds.
2) Soak over night. Use a plate to hold the seeds down.
3) Rinse, drain off, and pat dry with a dish cloth.
4) Place seeds on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
5) Cool and enjoy!
The end of Summer can be a wonderful fun time if you have sunflowers !