To harvest sunflower seeds, remove the flower head from the plant and allow it to dry. Remove the seeds from the flower, and air-dry or oven-roast the seeds. Harvesting sunflower seeds requires several days to allow the flower heads and seeds time to dry.
- Cut the flower heads from the stalk
When the flower has turned brown and lost most of its petals, cut the flower head off the stalk 1 foot below the flower. If pests are disturbing the sunflowers, cut the flower head off the stalk when the back of the flower turns from green to yellow and the seeds have developed a black-and-white striped outer shell.
- Remove the seeds
Hang the flower heads upside-down in a warm, dry location until the flowers are dry and the seeds separate from the flower head easily. Remove the seeds by rubbing the flower head gently.
- Dry the seeds
Allow the seeds to air-dry before storing them, or roast the seeds in the oven. To roast seeds, bake them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours or until the seeds open easily. Seeds can be soaked in salty water prior to roasting if desired. Store the seeds in an air-tight container after they are dry.