Sunflowers, Seeds and Oil
Every seed has the magic power of the sun
Originally sunflowers come from North America. They have been planted for 3000 years and need much sun and water to grow properly. The sunflower needs about 120-150 days until the sunflower seeds can be harvested. Seeding regularly is in April. Since the sunflower is a one year plant it has to be planted anew every year.
Depending on the species a sunflower can develop a height of more than 2 meters. Its wonderful head has made the sunflower a popular garden plant too. A large sunflower head can contain up to 2000 sunflower seeds. On one hectare up to 70.000 sunflowers can be planted. This makes 140 Million sunflower seeds on one hectare.
The largest sunflower ever was found in the Netherlands. It had an amazing height of 7,5 meters. The largest sunflower head was found on a plant in Great Britain. It had a diameter of 82cm.
When the black part of the sunflower head turns brown it is the right time for harvesting. Then everything has to go quickly because the birds are just has hot for the seeds as the human beings. Every day birds will eat millions of sunflower seeds until the harvest is finally finished. The sunflower seeds are brought to factories that clean them intensively and sort them in sizes. The small sunflower seeds will be used to make sunflower oil and the large seeds are intended to become a snack.
In 1510 Spanish navigators have brought the sunflower to Europe. Since the 17th century sunflower seeds have been used in bakery products. In the 19th century people started to produce sunflower oil. Nowadays for 1 litre of oil about 60 sunflowers are needed.
In many countries around the world the sunflower seeds have become a very popular snack while watching TV, taking a walk, playing computer games, going to a sporting event and many other occasions. But also in alternative medicine the valuable ingredients of sunflower seeds are used. Teas and tinctures that help against flu and stiffness in joints are produced from sunflowers. What other snack can offer those values?