How to Dry Picked Sunflower Seeds


If you have sunflowers growing in your garden, leave a few flowers for hungry birds and harvest the rest. Dried sunflower seeds make healthy snacks, high in potassium, protein, calcium, fiber, phosphorus and beneficial fats. Sunflower seeds can also be used in place of nuts in favorite recipes.

Step 1

Harvest sunflower seeds when the seeds begin to turn light brown and the back of the flower turns yellow. If the birds are harvesting the sunflowers before the seeds are ready, put a paper sack over the sunflower or wrap the sunflower in netting or cheesecloth. Don't wrap the bloom in plastic unless the plastic has been perforated to allow air circulation.

Step 2

Cut the sunflowers, leaving about a foot of stem intact. Hang the sunflowers in a dry, well-ventilated spot, and leave them until the seeds easily come loose from the flower. If you haven't already wrapped the blooms in cheesecloth or a paper bag, wrap it now so the seeds won't fall onto the floor as they dry.

Step 3

Store the dry sunflower seeds in an airtight container. To prevent the sunflower seeds from molding during storage, be sure the seeds are completely dry first.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper sack, netting or cheesecloth
  • Airtight container


  • Oregon State University: How to Collect, Dry and Roast Sunflower Seeds
  • Colorado State University: Harvesting and Roasting Sunflower Seeds
  • National Sunflower Association: The Power of Sunflower Seeds
Keywords: dry sunflower seeds, harvest sunflower seeds, dried sunflower weeds

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.