Sunflower seeds are more commonly eaten as a snack than as part of a meal. They can also be used as garnishes or ingredients in various recipes. The seeds may be sold as in-shell seeds or dehulled kernels.
When in-shell seeds are processed, they are first dried. Afterwards, they may also be roasted or dusted with salt or flour for the preservation of flavor.
Sunflower seeds sold by the bag are either eaten “plain” (salted only) or with a variety of flavorings added by the maker. Some of these flavors are barbecue, pickle, hot sauce, bacon, ranch, and nacho cheese.
In-shell, sunflower seeds are particularly popular in Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Asian countries where they can be bought freshly roasted and are commonly consumed as street food, the hull being cracked open with the teeth and spat out, while in many countries, they can be bought freshly packed in various roasted flavors. In the United States, they are commonly eaten by baseball players as an alternative to chewing tobacco.
Mechanically dehulled kernels are sold raw or roasted and are sometimes added to bread and other baked goods for their flavor. Sunflower seed brittle is produced by embedding the kernels in hard sugar candy. In Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Romania, roasted ground seeds are used to make a type of halva. Sunflower butter is similar to peanut butter, but uses sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, and is a common substitute in schools for children with nut allergies. Sunflower seeds are also used as food for pets and wild birds.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,445 kJ (584 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||8.6 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||