photo from sunset.comnot only do sunflowers cheerfully resemble the sun, they produce a little seed loaded with nutrients to nourish humans and animals alike.
sources say sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, fiber, protein (6 grams per ounce) and phytochemicals. they also have a beautiful history....
*"Sunflowers are native to both North and South America where indigenous people were first to cultivate them. The natives, following a 4,000-year-old practice, chose the largest seeds from the biggest heads year after year, developing the largest sunflowers that, in turn, produced the largest seeds. Ancient farmers tended their sunflower gardens with bone hoes and antler rakes. To encourage an abundant crop, they created special songs and held ceremonies at the time the seeds were sown.
Buffalo Bird Woman, a Hidatsa Native American farmer born in 1839, carried the ancient tradition forward and sang to her plants. Native Americans form deep spiritual bonds with the earth and are grateful for all it produces. Buffalo Bird Woman said, "We cared for our crops in those days as we would care for a child, for we Indian people loved our garden just as a mother loves her children ..."
(from vegparadise.com. you can read the rest of the write-up here.)
*another glorious aspect of sunflower seeds is the price. i find them to be considerably cheaper than other seeds and nuts used in raw food recipes (less than a quarter of the price). i use a very heavy hand when pouring my sunflower seeds from the bulk bins!
with all its wonderful qualities, i try to use sunflower seeds often in breads (see sunny bread recipe below) and other raw delights. tonight i decided to make a sunflower seed pesto (instead of walnut or pine nut) to top my favorite dinner, raw pizza.
1/2 C. sunflower seeds, soaked
4 C. lightly packed basil
1/4 C. water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt or shoyu
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. lemon juice
for the last four ingredients, use more or less to taste (note: i like garlic). process all ingredients until smooth.
1 1/4 C. buckwheat, soaked overnight
2/3 C. sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
5 T. ground flax seed
1 C. zucchini, chopped
1/4 C. water
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. herbs
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
1. blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
2. spread batter about 1/4 " thick on 3 3/4 dehydrator trays covered with teflex sheets. score into 9 squares per tray (or make pizza rounds).
3. dehydrate at 125 for 2-3 hours, then flip onto mesh and turn the temperature down to 110.
4. dehydrate until dry.
the pizza was assembled with cashew cheese, marinated mushrooms and bruschetta, then warmed in the dehydrator for about one hour.
not the most flattering pic, but doesn't that cashew cheese look like mozzarella?!
it seems like every raw pizza i make is tastier than the last. i was literally dancing in my seat while i ate it. so much better than SAD pizza!
photo from nps.gov
once when i was feeling really down, my bestest friend missy's mother bought me a sunflower to cheer me up. it sure did! i remember that as one of the nicest things anyone has done for me.
i guess the moral of this post is sunflowers are a great way to brighten someone's day...
...and raw pizza is another! =)