6 Oct 2006

Super Sunflower Seeds

It would be hard to live without sunflowers which brighten our homes and gardens, whether they are fresh or whether we adorn our walls with paintings of them. The whole of the plant is useful, the seeds to eat, the oil for cooking, the flowers for dyes, residue of the sunflower head for lifejackets and many other uses. Native Americans have cultivated sunflowers for over 5000 years. The Spanish explorers introduced them to Europe.

Sunflower seeds have a very high oil content and are one of the main sources of polyunsaturated oil and therefore are one of the most popular oils worldwide. They are an excellent source of vitamine E and contain good sources of thiamin (B1), pantothenic acid (B5), magnesium, manganese, copper, tryptopan, selenium, phosphorus, iron, calcium and folate. Sunflower seeds are over 20% protein and the flour made from ground seed is one of the richest sources of iron, hence their popularity with Vegans.

Healthwise, sunflower seeds phytosterols lowers cholesterol, the magnesium and phosphorus helps absorp of calcium and the thiamin and niacin protects the health of the brain, digestive tract and skin. Their betaine, cholene, arginine and linnans also have many health benefits.

Note that the flower is poisonous so must be kept away from food altogether.

Raw, organic, sunflower seeds can be sprouted and added to salad and cooked dishes, ground and sprinkled over cereals and added to smoothies or baked goods, or just munched as they are.
If you would like to know more, an excellent article, "Sunflowers Transcend Seedy Existence", can be found at the website Vegetarians in Paradise.

Recipes of the Day

Sunflower Loaf
from Vegan Food

1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds
1 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated potato
1 tsps salt
3 tbsps grated onion
1 cup milk substitute
1 tbsp oil

Mix together and let stand 1/2 hour. Bake at 350F/180C for one hour.

Sprouted Sunflower Almond Seed Cheese
from the book Almond Essence by Janet L. Doane (see link below)

1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 - 8 hours, & drained.
1/4 cup almond milk (additional almond milk or water to blend as needed)
1 tbsp Ume Plum Vinegar or 1-2 tbsps apple cider vinegar with 1/4 tspn sea salt
(Ume Plum Vinegar contains high amounts of sea salt)
2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced (delete if making seed cheese to go with fruit)

Put sunflower seeds in large bowl. Cover with several inches pure water. Let soak 4 - 8 hours. Pour water off. Cover again with cool tap water. Gently rub seeds between palms of hands to remove skins, which will float to the surface. Pour most of the water and the floating skins off. Repeat process several times. Tip: Pour the skins and water through a strainer to catch the few seeds that escape. These can be sorted out, or fed to the birds - they will love them! When most of the skins have been removed, pour all the water and seeds through a strainer. Drain. Place seeds in blender or food processor with almond milk or water, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, and salt (if apple cider vinegar is used). Blend, adding more liquid if necessary. When using a food processor, scrape mix down from the sides once or twice. Transfer to a serving or storing container. Cover leftovers and refrigerate for 2 - 3 days. Copyright 2005 by Janet L. Doane. All rights reserved.

Smoothies from Rudy Silva
at the Bharat Bhasha Website
Drinking a high fiber smoothie relieves and prevents constipation. It will also provide the nutrients that are necessary for having or keeping a nice clean and smooth skin.

Peach-Rice Dream Smoothie
Mix in a blender:
2 fresh peaches with peel1-cup rice dream
1/2 banana
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sunflower seed
1 tbsp lecithin granules
2 tbsps flax seed oil

In place of rice dream you can use almond milk. I now only use almond milk to make my smoothies. Place all of the seeds straight into the blender. This smoothie has plenty of fiber. You may want to increase the amount of sesame and sunflower seeds.

Strawberry Smoothie
Mix in a blender:
1 banana
1 tbsp lecithin granules
1 tsp any type of bran
1 cup or more 50:50 rice dream: almond milk
Now add strawberries one by one with the blender on until you get the consistency you like.
1tbsp flax seeds
1 or 2 tbsps sunflower seeds1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp flax seed oil

You can add liquid minerals or vitamins to these smoothies and give them an additional nutritional value.


Marion said...

I didn't know that the flower of the Sunflower was poisonous!

But I still use sunflower seeds in many dishes...I love them!

Anonymous said...

I love sunflower seeds, too. I especially love topping soy yogurt with them. It's good to read your information about how healthy they are!

Sympho said...

Just came across your blog. Lacto-ovo vegetarian, working on going vegan despite being a terrible cook. Your recipes sound delicious. :)

Anonymous said...

I have to try the sunflower loaf, especially since sunflower seeds are the favorite food of Agnes, the chicken I adopted from Farm Sanctuary.

Anonymous said...

I love sunflowers. I'm eyeing that recipe for Sunflower loaf! I'll be making that! :) :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, i learned so much from your post there. I have always loved both the flower of the sunflower and munching on the seeds. What a great flower it is indeed. Thank you for such a fab post, Jackie. Totally "ate it up," if you know what i mean!!

Anonymous said...

love your post, i always learn something new here!

lilfeathers2000 said...

You know I plant them every where for the finches/canaries during the summer. They gennerally polish off every crmb.
Great Post.

Anonymous said...

I love love LOVE sunflower seeds! I eat them everyday, usually on salads.

Vicki said...

Everything is better with sunflower seeds & it's great to know how good they are nutritionally.

Virginie said...

I didn't know too that the flowers are poisonous.
Would you like to participate to my virtual vegan brunch with your cheese or another one of your delicious recipe ? It will be next sunday. I can translate the recipe in french if you like.