Very rich in vitamin C, sunflower seeds possess a mild, nutty ingredient, as well as a strong but gentle texture. However, if you want them to produce their best flavor, you have to regularly roast them, even though you can purchase them raw. But where do sunflower seeds come from?
Almost everyone knows that sunflower seeds are produced by sunflowers, yet not everyone knows that they come from the huge flower heads of the sunflower plant.
A good number of sunflower seeds all over the world come from two countries, namely Ukraine and Russia. More about this shortly!
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What Are Sunflower Seeds?
Botanically called Helianthus annuus, the sunflower is the plant from which sunflower seeds are produced. In other words, they are the fruits of the sunflower.
These seeds are reaped from the sunflower’s huge flower heads, measuring over 12 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, just one sunflower head can carry almost 2,000 seeds.
Some sunflower seeds are more frequently used than others. They include linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds, with each possessing its different unique degrees of monounsaturated, saturated, and poly-unsaturated fats.
However, this article is mainly covering on the linoleic sunflower seed type.
Scientifically called cypsela, sunflower seeds are primarily called misnomers, as they are added to the seed in their pericarp. However, whenever they are removed from their pericarp, the edible remnants are otherwise called the sunflower kernels or hearts.
Again, sunflower seeds are eatable and are wrapped in inedible black and white-colored shells, otherwise called hulls. The seeds produce a high amount of vitamins B, E, and selenium, amongst others.
They are good for your health, as they contain polyphenol compounds, which serve as natural antioxidants that get rid of harmful oxidant molecules from your body.
Where Do Sunflower Seeds Come From?
As we previously mentioned, to date, most people still do not know where exactly sunflower seeds come from. Yes, they are produced from sunflowers, but where exactly in sunflowers do they develop from to give us important sources of nutrients that are very essential to our day-to-day lives?
Sunflower seeds come from the big flower heads of the sunflower plant. Their edible varieties possess mild and nutty ingredients.
Much of sunflower seeds all over the world is gotten from just two countries, namely Ukraine and Russia. Meanwhile, Kansas is the sunflower state, and sunflower is primarily the national flower of Ukraine.
Note that Ukraine is considered the world’s largest producer of sunflower seeds, and the second on the list is Russia.
Meanwhile, the United State is the 10th largest sunflower seeds producers, and a good number of them is grown in South Dakota and North Dakota. There are two reasons why the sunflower seeds are grown and thrive in colder seasons.
The first of them is that they can be cultivated within a short growing season between June to September, and the second, is the cold winters in the Dakotas help prevent pests and diseases from the plants.
Again, these seeds are most common in trail mix, multi-grain bread, nutrition bars, and consumed as food out from a bag.
Where Do Sunflowers Originate From?
If you trace the history of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), you will discover that they originate from the jungles of North America.
However, their commercialization started in Russia until recently, when they came back to North America to continue as a grown crop. In other words, they are most commonly native to North and South American Diaspora.
Meanwhile, the American Indians were the first to domesticate the sunflower plants into single-headed crops that come from different seed colors such as black, white, red, and black or white stripes.
The plant was popular throughout the American Indian tribes all over North America and was grown by their people in present-day Arizona and New Mexico during 3000 BC.
Notable Facts About Sunflower Seeds
- Some people think that sunflower seeds can only be used as an oil, but not just that, as they can also be sold in form of foodstuffs
- Most of the sunflower seeds products are available in lots of flavor varieties. While some of them are sold salted and covered in shells, others are coated and consumed as barbeque, sour cream, or ranch
- Some types of sunflower seeds are made without salt or with reduced sodium and fat, especially for the benefit of health-conscious consumers
- Shells of smaller sunflower seeds are detached, revealing only the kernel, which is can be sold. This variety of sunflower seeds, in general, can be eaten easily
- Most of their seeds are tied inside polythene or plastic bags or glass jars and can also be bought in different sizes