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Homemade Roasted Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are part of my childhood in so many different ways. My Mom has always planted a big, beautiful garden. She fills her flower beds to the brim with all kinds of gorgeous textures, colors, and different heights of plants. They're all strategically placed, and on any given afternoon in summertime, she's out in the garden. 

I, the little terror that I was (and probably still am sometimes), would sneak a handful of sunflower seeds in the springtime and when my Mom wasn't looking, would sneak a seed here and there in her garden. A few months later, her garden would flourish in perfect order... 

...minus the giant sunflowers sprouting up in the middle of everything, in random places. 

Childhood was fun, eh?
She's keep them there, I think because she didn't have the heart to chop down anything perfectly living in her garden, and because she knew I planted them. :) Mom's are fun like that, eh?

We've never saved the seeds of those giant bursting flowers before, though. I think she's let them dry out and let the birds have at it, but never did we save the heads and dry them out for our own sunflower seed obsession (I say obsession because every trip our family took to Lake Powell in the summer was never without a bag of salty sunflower seeds on deck). My sister-in-law and I planted a garden this year, and I knew right away I wanted to save the seeds to try roasting them up. 

Little did I know that the seeds we planted would grow up to explode into 10 FEET TALL giants with heads the side of a giant serving platter. I saved a couple, dried them out, rinsed them off, boiled them up, dried them off, toasted them up, and then BAM we had a heaping pile of amazing salty sunflower seeds. We've been snacking on them ever since! I didn't realize how easy it was (yes, time consuming, but its not like I had to sit there and watch them the whole time), to make these. They also last a really long time. I made these a few weeks ago, and they still taste as crispy/salty/fresh as the day they were finished roasting. YUM!! 

Homemade Roasted Sunflower Seeds

1 12" giant sunflower head, dried out so the seeds just fall out
1/2 C sea salt

1. Remove seeds from dried out sunflower head. The seeds should be so dry that they just fall out when touched with the side of the thumb. Gather the seeds in a bowl (you should have about 3-4 C).
2. Rinse seeds under a stream of cold water in a colander, shaking the colander around so most of the grime/dirt is on the seeds comes off. Remove any non-seed debris, and place the seeds in a soup pot. Fill the pot about 3/4 full and add salt. 
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle boil. Let seeds roll for 1 1/2 - 2 hours (yep). 
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then a couple layers of paper towels, set aside. 
5. Drain seeds in a colander, then spread out over the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with additional sea salt. Let dry for 24 hours until the seeds are no longer wet/gummy. Bake for 20-40 minutes in a 400 degree oven until they get toasty. Let cool. Store in heavy ziploc bags in a dry area. 

Recipe source: Baking with Blondie
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