All around town the sunflower heads are nodding, heavy with seeds ready to harvest. If you've managed to rescue your seeds from the birds and squirrels, here's a recipe for roasting seeds in the shell from the National Sunflower Association.
Cover unshelled seeds with salted water, using 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt per two quarts of water. Soak seeds in the salt solution overnight. Drain off the water the next morning and pat the seeds dry to remove excess moisture. (You can also roast the seeds unsalted, by simply skipping the soaking process).
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the sunflower seeds evenly on a cookie sheet or shallow pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. The seeds will often develop a small crack down the center as they roast. Test after each stirring to see if the seeds are completely roasted by tasting. After roasting, remove seeds from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Then store the seeds in an airtight container for future snacking.
Variations call for mixing a teaspoon of melted butter with a cup of seeds while they are still warm from the oven; these are for immediate eating. Some also experiment with different seasonings, such as barbecue, Cajun, and taco.