Sunflower seeds are rich in minerals and good fatty acids, in different quantities depending on the type of seed. Like all oilseeds they are also high in calories, but in relatively moderate amounts when compared to most others.

Properties and benefits of sunflower seeds

The white and larger seeds are particularly rich in linoleic acid which is a precursor to omega 6. Excellent supply of vitamins of the group, a characteristic shared with almost all fruit seeds, in particular sunflower seeds excel in the content of B1 (thiamin), B6 and B9 (folate).

Important contribution in mineral salts particularly magnesium which is the energy source of the cells.

Fun facts about sunflower seeds

The first curiosity is botany, sunflower seeds are not seeds but achenes. An achene is a dried fruit that contains only one seed, if you think about it it's curious, we call dried fruit those that in many cases are edible seeds and we call seeds those that are actually achenes.

Another curiosity about the plant: normally a sunflower flower reaches a height of around 3 meters, but it can reach 6 and there is news of a record-breaking one that reached 9 meters. In reality, however, what looks like a single large flower is an inflorescence, that is, a group of flowers organized in such a way as to look like a single large flower.

The sunflower comes from South America, so it was unknown in Europe before the discovery of the new world, it seems that even the Incas the large flower remembered the solar disk and in fact it was identified with the sun god and as a symbol of royalty.

Somewhere you will read that in Greek mythology the nymph Clizia is transformed into a sunflower, but we are not talking about the Helianthus annuus but the Heliotropium, we confirm that the common sunflower was not present in Europe before the discovery of America.

In Eastern European countries they are a very popular snack, you see people munching on sunflower seeds everywhere.

Given what is written on the folate content and the well-known importance of folic acid during pregnancy, sunflower seeds can be a suitable snack for pregnant women. Thanks to the content of tryptophan, an amino acid, and magnesium they can relieve migraines.

Sunflower seeds in the kitchen

Browning on the net we discovered that sunflower seeds are used in many recipes to enrich bread and focaccia, but there are also real dishes, including first and seconds. We chose a risotto.

Smoked risotto and sunflower seeds

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 600 g vegetable broth
  • 300 g Carnaroli rice
  • 80 g smoked provola
  • 40 g of shelled sunflower seeds
  • 30 g of extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 dried dates

Preparation:

1) Bring the broth to a boil.

2) Heat the oil in a saucepan and toast the rice for a minute.

3) Cook the risotto for 18′, adding the broth a little at a time and making sure that it remains fairly fluid.

4) Quickly toast the sunflower seeds in a non-stick pan.

5) Cut the dates and provolone into cubes.

6) When the rice is cooked, stir it in with the cheese and dates.

7) Pour the rice into plates and complete with the sunflower seeds.

 Recipe source: Lacucinaitaliana.it

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Specific References

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