As promised, Monday evening I used Random Number Generator and picked one comment from last Thursday’s Book Giveaway post.
Anne Ollamha! You are the lucky commenter. Send your preferred mailing address to email@example.com
Sunflowers, you’re probably thinking, why would sunflowers be a survival crop? Sounds like a wussy sort of crop.
Oil – Sunflower seeds can be a source for cooking oil. You’ll need a lot of them, but that shouldn’t be hard, (I’ll come back to that point) and you’ll need something to grind them for oil separating. I like mortar/pestle, but hand grinders can be useful, if you have one that works with oily seeds. If you’re looking for an oily seed press, Lehman’s has one that looks like it would handle anything I can grow here in Iowa.
We first tried using “confectionary” sunflower seeds for oil. These are the regular eating kernels we’re used to seeing. They give less than half as much oil as the oilseed types of sunflower. Although you can use confectionary types such as MAMMOTH RUSSIAN for oil, don’t expect to get more than an ounce and a half from a pound of seed. Oilseed produces three or more ounces of oil from a pound of seed and is well worth planting along with confectionary-type seeds. Oilseed has another big advantage — to prepare it, you can put the whole, unhulled seed into a blender and whiz it until it forms a fine meal, while confectionary seeds must be dehulled first. The entire sequence of grading, dehulling and winnowing is avoided with oilseed.
By Jeff Cox
— from Organic Gardening, April 1979, Rodale Press
Sprouting – Sunflower seeds are great for sprouting! Big, tasty, fairly quick. A pound of seeds would be a welcome addition to any winter fresh food rotation. (You food pantry preppers know what I mean, winter squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, something canned, winter squash, sweet potato, pumpkin….. 😀 )
Vitamins – The seeds are a good source of Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Folate (think pregnant women and small children), and my favorite, Tryptophan. Tryptophan is the sleepy part of turkey dinner. It’s a happy drug for your body, an essential amino acid.
Compare Sunflower seeds in protein levels and tryptophan levels to some other more traditional protein sources. All measurements in g/100g.
Sunflowers seeds beat out eggs for level of protein, and weren’t far behind the pork chop.
Easy – Sunflowers grow like a weed in most of the Midwest. They grow fast, they are strong, and they produce a lot of seeds. We had pretty severe drought here this year, and I had a strong harvest from my small stand of unwatered sunflowers.
Hardy – See above about the drought resistance. Most have really strong stems, that will stand up to wind and weather. Most have an unpleasant spiky/sappy sort of stalk. (Fun fact, that white sappy stuff is a natural latex.)
Have I convinced you? It’s a great crop to get to know, don’t wait until you’re on your last can of olive oil. Find a local seed supplier and plan a nice sunny patch for your sunflower crop.
– Calamity Jane