Growing sunflowers and watching birds feed from them can be enjoyable. But eating the seeds yourself can be just as enjoyable and even healthful. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is an excellent antioxidant. It neutralizes free radicals that damage brain cells and cell membranes. These tiny seeds also contain phytosterols, which reduce cholesterol and the risk of some cancers. Roast them to munch on for a handy snack. They have a long shelf life.
Sort through your sunflower seeds, eliminating any underdeveloped or damaged seeds.
Pour about a half-cup of salt into a large container. Add 2 qt. of water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour in your unshelled sunflower seeds. The water should completely cover the seeds. Use additional containers if you have excess seeds. Let them soak overnight. If you prefer unsalted seeds, omit the salt. Presoaking the seeds will make them easier to open after roasting.
Drain the container of water. Pour the seeds onto a mat of paper towels, and pat the excess water away with additional paper towels.
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Spread the sunflower seeds onto a rimmed cookie sheet in a single layer. Use additional cookie sheets, if necessary.
Place the seeds into the preheated oven and bake them for 20 to 40 minutes. Stir them around a couple of times during the roasting period.
Remove the seeds from the oven and let them cool. Experiment with the roasting time to suit your taste.
Store the seeds in air-tight containers.