Well, I certainly didn’t think I would be writing about sunflowers under the cooking tab! Of course, I know baseball players like to chew on sunflower seeds and spit them out all over the dugout and some birds eat them. I do like to sprinkle them on my salads, but I never have thought about making a salad of sunflower sprouts! Keep reading to see all the interesting things I learned about sunflowers.
Where in the World?
Evidence suggests that the sunflower has been around since about 3000 BC! The North American Indians used every part of it either for food or medicinal and decorative purposes. The Spanish explorers took the plant to Europe and it eventually became a source of cooking oil. By the early 19th century, Russian farmers were growing over 2 million acres of sunflowers specifically for oil and human and animal consumption. Eventually, the sunflower came back to North America and is an important cultivated crop. The National Sunflower Association has a website with lots of interesting information as well as recipes using sunflowers. Click here to check it out.
Eat Your Greens
Sunflowers offer incredible health benefits, and you can eat many parts of the plant! Sunflower greens offer one of the most balanced forms of a complete plant protein around. They are packed with nutrition and have very few calories. Finding fresh sunflower sprouts is very difficult, but the good news is you can grow your own in your kitchen and have sprouts in a matter of days! For directions on cultivating sunflower sprouts and more click here.
How About Some Sprouts?
Growing sunflower sprouts (sometimes called sunflower lettuce) is a perfect gardening activity for your kids because as the author of Super Healthy Kids says, “It’s almost impossible to screw up!” There are easy instructions and pictures of each step. After your seeds sprout, you will be ready to sprinkle them on your sandwich or whip up a “sprout” version of avocado toast. Click here.
Seeds, Oil, Sprouts – so many ways to take advantage of the healthy benefits of the sunflower!