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Sunflower Seeds | Soaking and Drying

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Sunflower Seeds, Soaking and Drying
How to soak sunflower seedsThere are days when I feel like pulling my hair out.  Then there are days when my hair just falls out… at alarming rates. This is a straight-away concern, no woman or man wants to lose their locks!


Hair loss may be due to many reasons; lifestyle factors, iron deficiency, a side effect of prescription medication, severe stress, treatment, and styling effects or if you pull or twist your hair too much.  Doh! I am a hair twister!


Hair loss and Sunflower Seeds?

Sunflower seeds contain a nutrient called silica, which is important to the strength of your hair. By strengthening hair and its roots, silica can prevent hair breakage. (1)  They also contain plenty of other hair loss preventing nutrients such as; protein, zinc, selenium, biotin, potassium, copper, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium.


I am not saying that sunflower is the cure-all for hair loss, but it is one step in the right direction.  Have you ever heard that term, “It takes a village to raise a child?”… well, it takes a village of nutrient-packed foods to heal the body!


Sunflower Fun Facts

I thought this bit of info was just fascinating and must be shared.  The flowers within a sunflower head are clustered in a spiral pattern whereby each floret is oriented towards the next by the golden angle of 137.5°. This produces a pattern of interconnecting spirals. The number of left and right spirals is consecutive Fibonacci numbers. Normally there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other. Very large sunflowers can have 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.  Pretty cool huh? If you wish to more on how sunflower plants grow and are harvested, please click (here).

The Importance of soaking nuts and seeds

Why must we go through all this trouble? I find soaking sunflower seeds and nuts a very important step when it comes to my digestion. When nuts/seeds are soaked and/or sprouted in water, the germination process begins, in which the active and readily available amounts of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fatty acids begin to be activated. 
Nuts and seeds contain phytic acid and enzymes inhibitors which make it quite hard on the stomach and digestion. This simple process can make all the difference in how you feel after consuming them and how your body assimilates them. To read more about the importance of why our bodies benefit from soaking nuts and seeds, click (here).  Using sea salt in your soak water helps de-activate the enzyme inhibitors and makes your nuts and seeds extra tasty.


  • 4 cups raw sunflower seeds, shelled
  • 1 Tbsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 8 cups water



  1. Place the sunflower seeds and salt in a large glass or stainless steel bowl along with 8 cups of water.
  2. Leave them on the counter to soak for 2 hours.
    • Loosely cover with a clean cloth, this allows the contents of the bowl to breathe.
  3. After they are done soaking, drain and rinse them in a colander.
Dehydrator method:
  1. Spread the sunflower seeds on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator.  Place another mesh sheet on top to prevent them from blowing around during the drying process.
    • Keep them in a single layer as much as possible and dry them at 115 degrees (F) until they are thoroughly dry and crisp.  Make sure they are completely dry.  If not, they could mold, plus they won’t have that crunchy, yummy texture you expect from nuts and seeds.
    • The dry time will vary due to the machine you own, the type of climate you live in, and how full your dehydrator is when drying them.
    • Expect anywhere from 4 + hours.
  2. Allow them to cool to room temperature before storing.
  3. Store in airtight containers such as mason jars.
    • Use within 1-3 months – store in the fridge
    • Use within 3-12 months – store in the freezer.


Oven method: (no longer raw)

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F).
  2. Spread the sunflower seeds on an ungreased cookie sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
    • Don’t leave them unattended, due to their high oil content; they will continue to roast after you remove them from the oven.
    • Good idea to stir them around a bit throughout the process.
  4. Cool for about 1 hour.   Make sure that they are cool before storing them.
  5. Note ~  You can also attempt to dry the sunflower seeds in the oven and keep them raw, but this is tricky.  You will need to set the oven on the lowest setting, keep the door ajar and hang a thermometer in the oven to watch the temperature.  Nothing is impossible.  With this method… good luck and do your best. :)

Do soaked sunflower seeds have to be dehydrated?

If you are unable to dry the seeds, it is best only to soak an amount that you can be sure will used within two or three days.  As with any live food, mold tends to set in within days if you’re not careful. They will need to be stored in water, sealed tight, and placed in the fridge.  It is important to rinse them twice a day with fresh water.

31 thoughts on “Sunflower Seeds | Soaking and Drying

  1. katie webb says:

    i am so impressed with your recipes and the amount of information you include with them. as a beginning dehydrator-person i appreciate the virtual hand-holding i receive from across the Atlantic. you have great value and i thank and wish you a very happy christmas

    • amie-sue says:

      Got to love virtual hand-holding, don’t you?! :) I so enjoy how we can all connect from all corners of the world. You are very welcome and thank you for the kind words as well. Happy holidays and many blessings, amie sue

  2. Johanna says:

    Just found this site, great one, I will keep coming back. A few questions about soaking seeds.. Why do you add salt to the water? If storing them undehydrated, why in water? And also, though that’s not raw I usually put pumpkin- and sunflower seeds together with buckwheat when I cook it to a porridge, and the seeds feel kind of the same as after soaking. Do you know what happens to them when being cooked?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Johana,

      Let me see if you can answer your questions here.

      Q – Why do you add salt to the water?
      A – For many people, the phytates and enzyme inhibitors found in nuts and seeds make them difficult to digest. The salt helps activate enzymes that deactivate the enzyme inhibitors present in nuts.

      Q – If storing them undehydrated, why in water?
      A – If you are unable to dry your nuts or seeds, only soak an amount that you can be sure to use within two or three days. For convenience, I like to soak nuts and seeds in mason jars, rinse them after 12 hours, and then if I don’t have a chance to dry them, I store them in my refrigerator in water. It is important to rinse them twice a day with fresh water. You want to use these nuts within a few days, because as with any live food, mold tends to set in within days if you’re not careful.

      Q – And also, though that’s not raw I usually put pumpkin- and sunflower seeds together with buckwheat when I cook it to a porridge, and the seeds feel kind of the same as after soaking. Do you know what happens to them when being cooked?
      A – Please clarify what you are wanting to know. Soaking and cooking can often leave foods with similar texture. By cooking them, you could be losing valuable nutrients. But sometimes people need to cook foods due to weak digestive systems. I find myself having to cook certain things for this very reason.

      Have a great evening, amie sue

  3. […] 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked […]

  4. Eileen says:

    What’s the easiest way to remove the loose skins from the tray of dried sunflower seeds; and/or getting them off the seeds completely?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Eileen,

      If this is an issue for me (for visual reasons), I will place some in the center of a dish towel and gently roll them around within it. This helps gets the loose stuff off. Typically, I don’t worry about it. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  5. Alex says:

    Hi, thanks for the great page! I’m
    Just beginning to try out making these seed/nut butters but my dehydrator didn’t come with a mesh tray.. Anything else I can use in there to prevent the seeds dropping through to the bottom? My dehydration trays have too big holes for this. Please help! :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Alex, I would first check into ordering some… you will want them in the long run if you plan on dehydrating stuff. But in the mean time, you will just need to use the sheets that it came with. I would stir them around every once in a while so more air gets around the nut/seed. Many blessings, amie sue

  6. vanita choudhary says:

    Loveeeeeeee this article ,just what I want along with additional information. Totally subscribing for more!!!
    With love

  7. Sunny says:

    I want to know why I need to put salt when I soak nuts and seeds . 
    Please tell me <3
    Thank you Amie every time every posts !

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Sunny,
      The salt helps to activate enzymes that de-activate the enzyme inhibitors. This makes it easier to digest.:) Blessings, amie sue

      • Sunny says:

        Amie, thank you !
        OK , but is nuts activated if I don’t put salt in the water ? Salt makes more easily activate the nuts and seeds? is it right ?

        • amie-sue says:

          Good morning Sunny,

          The soaking in salt water will help to reduce the phytic acid, and the salt helps to unlock the enzymes. If you are concerned about the salt use either due to the taste or for dietary reasons, keep in mind that you will rinse the nuts or seeds after the soaking process so that it won’t be detected. Don’t let it stress you out. :) Do your best. There have been times that I forgotten to add the salt and did ok. It’s about creating healthy habits into your life so that in the end, you feel the best that you can. That’s what I want for you and me. :) Blessings, amie sue

  8. Esther says:

    Hi, thank you for sharing this info. Question: I plan to soak raw sunflower seeds and will use my oven to dry them since I don’t have a dehydrator. I’m not on a strictly “raw” diet, but would like to roast the seeds at a low temperature to maintain more nutrients. My oven’s lowest temp. is 175F. If I roast sunflower seeds at 175-200F, can you tell me for about how long I should roast them? Or would you not recommend to roast at such a low oven temp.? Thank you in advance!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Esther,

      You can certainly slow roast the seeds in the oven at a lower temp. I am not sure on the length of time since I have tried that temp before. The best advice that I can give you is to set a timer and check them often… documenting the end time so you know for the future. At that temp, it could take a good chunk of the day. Also, be sure to stir them around so they roast evenly. When you think they are done, allow some to cool and then eat them. Make sure you got all the moisture out of them so they don’t get moldy when being stored.

      Keep me posted if you give it a go. Blessings, amie sue :)

  9. sarah says:

    Deeeeelicous! Thank you!

  10. Diána says:


    I plan on making sunflower butter, which I read can be stored for sever weaks in the fridge. If I soak them then roast them at around 150-175 Celsius degree do you think it can be still stored for that long?

    Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Diana,

      I don’t really have an answer to your question. Whenever I make nut or seed butters we tend to use them up before there is ever any question in if it is going bad or not. I would guess for 1-2 months in the fridge. There are always variables such as; did you add other ingredients, the freshness of the seeds, and how it is being stored. Have a great evening, amie sue

  11. Paul says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    Thanks for your article. I appreciate the info and your support to the community here. I like to preserve most foods in the freezer to maximize freshness and nutrients so wouldn’t I be able to freeze the seeds after soaking? If so, can I skip the dehydration? Also, how about blending the soaked seeds with water to make a milk and then freezing in ice molds for smoothies or what have you? Lastly, have you ever tried sprouting and what the process would be? Thanks in advance.


    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Paul,

      Yes… you freeze the seeds after soaking and yes you can freeze the sunflower milk. :) You can sprout sunflower seeds but I don’t have a post on that to explain it all. I will work on that though. They are fun to sprout! blessings, amie sue

  12. chay says:

    Hello I would like to know a recipe for making dill pickle sunflower seeds. It would be great if you have one.

  13. Susan M. Oakland says:

    When you are talking about drying sunflower seeds in the dehydrator and soaking them in salt does that mean in the Shell I can’t imagine on showing all the seeds just to get the meat inside to dehydrate

    • amie-sue says:

      Good day Susan,

      Yes, I am referring to “shelled” sunflower seeds…

      4 cups raw sunflower seeds, shelled
      1 Tbsp Himalayan pink salt
      8 cups water

      It wouldn’t do any good to do these steps to nuts or seeds while they are in their shell. I don’t purchase sunflower seeds in their shells, just the kernels.

      Blessings, amie sue

  14. Christy says:

    Hi there my. Issue is also no mesh trays , I saw you mentioned sheets but I don’t have those either , do you have any suggestions on what I could use in place of those items?

    I Don’t know if I can but was wondering if I could
    don’t know if I can but was wondering if I Could I use aluminum foil in dehydrator If you don’t have any other suggestions that would work better?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Christy,

      Since sunflower seeds are small and lightweight, I would use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. There is a lot of documentation out in Google regarding the bad effects of cooking with aluminum foil, so I personly steer clear of it. I hope this helps, amie sue

  15. Kathy says:

    Does toasting sunflowers without soaking remove some of the phytic acid?

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