How to Toast Sunflower Seeds

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Toasted sunflower seeds. Delicious. Grown all around the world, humans have consumed sunflower seeds for at least 35,000 years. Sunflower seeds are a smart snack option - loaded with calcium, magnesium and zinc as well as vitamin E. With a ratio of 20% carbohydrates, 24% protein and 40% fat, sunflower seeds make a healthy addition to your diet.

Though there are many ways to enjoy sunflower seeds, toasting brings out their nutty flavor. There are three easy ways to toast shelled sunflower seeds. Read on for details.

Toast sunflower seeds in the microwave

Use the microwave to toast smaller quantities of sunflower seeds to be used for garnishes or small snacks. Remember that microwaves vary in power so experimentation may be necessary.

~ Select a microwave-safe dish with a flat bottom. ~ Place less than 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds in a single layer and smooth around until they appear evenly spaced. ~ Sprinkle a small amount of oil over the sunflower seeds to assist with the browning process. ~ Microwave the oil-coated sunflower seeds on high for approximately one minute. ~ Remove sunflower seeds from the microwave, stir and then microwave again on high for another minute. ~ Continue this process, checking the sunflower seeds after each one minute interval. It generally takes no more than 4 - 5 minutes in total for the sunflower seeds to become fragrant and lightly browned.

Toast sunflower seeds on the stove-top

Toasting sunflower seeds on the stove-top is preferred for medium sized batches or for sunflower seeds that will be chopped and used in recipes. The part of the sunflower seed that touches the skillet will be the darkest.

~ Select a heavy skillet. ~ Heat sunflower seeds over dry medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown and aromatic. ~ Pay strict attention, sunflower seeds can burn fast on the stove-top. ~ Shake the skillet frequently for even browning. ~ Immediately remove toasted sunflower seeds from the hot skillet so they do not continue to cook.

Toast sunflower seeds in the oven

Oven toasting is best for toasting larger quantities of sunflower seeds, providing a more uniform golden brown.

~ Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). ~ Select a baking sheet with side walls so the sunflower seeds do not spill when you stir them. ~ Eliminate any broken pieces and measure 1 cup of shelled whole sunflower seeds. (If the recipe calls for chopped sunflower seeds, you can chop them after toasting). ~ Spread sunflower seeds in a single layer onto the baking sheet. ~ Toast sunflower seeds in preheated oven for 6 - 10 minutes or until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally during toasting. ~ Remove from oven when the sunflower seeds are a uniform golden brown, perhaps more golden than brown. Keep a close watch. If unsure, remember it's better to remove the sunflower seeds when they are slightly under-toasted.
~ Immediately remove toasted sunflower seeds from the hot baking sheet so they do not continue to cook.