Sunflowers are said to have originated from Peru and Mexico. In the US, the seeds were used by American Indians for more than 5,000 years for snacking. The Indians also squeezed out the oil for baking bread and used the flowers for dyeing textiles. At this time, the Indians probably had no idea about the benefits of eating sunflower petals.
Sunflowers petals contain vitamin A and C. They are also rich in niacin, riboflavin, and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and iron.
To get the best out of sunflower, eat it at the bud stage. At this stage, it tastes like artichokes. Buds can be eaten raw in salads, roasted like coffee to make delicious drinks or steamed and served like artichokes.
8 sunflower buds
3 tablespoon bread crumbs
2 tablespoon butter
Fresh juice from 2 medium lemons
Process: Boil water in a pot and toss in the flower buds. Boil for 2 minutes. While water is boiling, bring a second pot of water to a boil. After the buds have cooked in the first pot for 3 minutes, transfer them to the second pot. Discard the first pot of water which helps in getting rid of the bitter taste in the buds. Continue to cook buds until tender, drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a skillet, toss in the bread crumbs and stir, sautéing lightly. When you notice bread crumbs turning golden, add sunflower buds and lemon juice and toss to coat. Garnish with sunflower petals and serve immediately.
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Sunflower petals, seeds, and pasta salad
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoon of sunflower petals
12 oz rigatoni
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 tablespoon of chopped hazelnuts
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1table spoon sunflower seeds
1 dessertspoon of chopped chives
Process: Boil water in a large pan, add rigatoni and continue boiling for 10 minutes. When tender, remove from heat and drain. Heat the oil in a large pan, toss the garlic and rigatoni. Stir thoroughly, remove from heat and put into a serving bowl. Allow the mixture to cool down, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill. When serving, mix the hazelnuts, sunflower petals, seeds and chives in the pasta, and stir in the mayonnaise. Decorate with a few fresh petals and serve.
To make this drink, mix 80 grams of dried sunflower petals with 1 liter of white wine. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 days while stirring occasionally.
The above are just a few recipes to prove that sunflower petals are great for your culinary needs. Whichever way you choose to eat them, just make sure you maximize on the benefits of eating sunflower petals by eating flowers you have grown organically in your garden to avoid ingesting pesticide residue.