The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ). There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: linoleic (most common), high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. Each variety has its own unique levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats. The information in this article refers mainly to the linoleic variety.
For commercial purposes, sunflower seeds are usually classified by the pattern on their husks. If the husk is solid black, the seeds are called black oil sunflower seeds. The crops may be referred to as oilseed sunflower crops. These seeds are usually pressed to extract their oil. Striped sunflower seeds are primarily used for food; as a result, they may be called confectionery sunflower seeds.
The term "sunflower seed" is actually a misnomer when applied to the seed in its pericarp (hull). Botanically speaking, it is a cypsela. When dehulled, the edible remainder is called the sunflower kernel or heart.
|Sunflower seed production – 2014|
|Country||Production (millions of tonnes)|
In 2014, global production of sunflower seeds was 41.4 million tonnes, led by Ukraine with 24% and Russia with 21% of the world total (table). China, Bulgaria, Romania, and Argentina also contributed significant volumes.
Sunflower seeds are more commonly eaten as a snack than as part of a meal. They can also be used as garnishes or ingredients in various recipes. The seeds may be sold as in-shell seeds or dehulled kernels. The seeds can also be sprouted and eaten in salads.
When in-shell seeds are processed, they are first dried. Afterwards, they may also be roasted or dusted with salt or flour for preservation of flavor.
Sunflower seeds sold by the bag are either eaten "plain" (salted only) or with a variety of flavorings added by the maker including barbecue, pickle, hot sauce, bacon, ranch, and nacho cheese as well as others.
In-shell, sunflower seeds are particularly popular in Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Asian countries where they can be bought freshly roasted and are commonly consumed as street food, the hull being cracked open with the teeth and spat out, while in many countries, they can be bought freshly packed in various roasted flavors. In the United States, they are commonly eaten by baseball players as an alternative to chewing tobacco.
Mechanically dehulled kernels are sold raw or roasted and are sometimes added to bread and other baked goods for their flavor. Sunflower seed brittle is produced by embedding the kernels in hard sugar candy. In Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, roasted ground seeds are used to make a type of halva. There is also sunflower butter, similar to peanut butter, but using sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, which is a common substitute in schools for children with nut allergies. Apart from human consumption, sunflower seeds are also used as food for pets and wild birds in boxes and small bags.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,445 kJ (584 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||8.6 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
In a 100-gram serving, dried whole sunflower seeds provide 584 calories and are composed of 5% water, 20% carbohydrates, 51% total fat and 21% protein (table). The seeds are a rich source (20% or higher of the Daily Value, DV) of protein (42% DV), dietary fiber (36% DV), many B vitamins (23–129% DV) and vitamin E (234% DV). The seeds also contain high levels of dietary minerals, including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc (40–94% DV).
Half of a 100-gram serving is fat, mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, principally linoleic acid. Additionally, the seeds contain phytosterols which may contribute toward lower levels of blood cholesterol.
Over the past decades sunflower oil has become popular worldwide. The oil may be used as is, or may be processed into polyunsaturated margarines. The oil is typically extracted by applying great pressure to the sunflower seeds and collecting the oil. The protein-rich cake remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil is used as a livestock feed.
The original sunflower oil (linoleic sunflower oil) is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (about 68% linoleic acid) and low in saturated fats, such as palmitic acid and stearic acid. However, various hybrids have been developed to alter the fatty acid profile of the crop for various purposes.
The hulls, or shells, mostly composed of cellulose, decompose slowly and may be burned as biomass fuel.Sunflower hulls of the cultivated sunflower ( Helianthus annuus ) contain allelopathic compounds which are toxic to grasses and the vast majority of cultivated garden plants. Only a small number of garden plants, such as day lilies, are unaffected by the allelopathic compounds found in sunflower hulls.
The almond is a species of tree native to Iran and surrounding countries but widely cultivated elsewhere. The almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.
The pistachio, a member of the cashew family, is a small tree originating from Central Asia and the Middle East. The tree produces seeds that are widely consumed as food.
The peanut, also known as the groundnut, goober (US), or monkey nut (UK), and taxonomically classified as Arachis hypogaea, is a legume crop grown mainly for its edible seeds. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, being important to both small and large commercial producers. It is classified as both a grain legume and, due to its high oil content, an oil crop. World annual production of shelled peanuts was 44 million tonnes in 2016, led by China with 38% of the world total. Atypically among legume crop plants, peanut pods develop underground (geocarpy) rather than above ground. With this characteristic in mind, the botanist Carl Linnaeus named the species hypogaea, which means "under the earth".
Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower, is a large annual forb of the genus Helianthus grown as a crop for its edible oil and edible fruits. This sunflower species is also used as wild bird food, as livestock forage, in some industrial applications, and as an ornamental in domestic gardens. The plant was first domesticated in the Americas. Wild Helianthus annuus is a widely branched annual plant with many flower heads. The domestic sunflower, however, often possesses only a single large inflorescence atop an unbranched stem. The name sunflower may derive from the flower's head's shape, which resembles the sun, or from the impression that the blooming plant appears to slowly turn its flower towards the sun as the latter moves across the sky on a daily basis.
The lentil is an edible legume. It is a bushy annual plant known for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40 cm (16 in) tall, and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each. As a food crop, the majority of world production comes from Canada, India, and Turkey.
Peanut butter is a food paste or spread made from ground dry-roasted peanuts. It often contains additional ingredients that modify the taste or texture, such as salt, sweeteners, or emulsifiers. Peanut butter is popular in many countries. The United States is a leading exporter of peanut butter and itself consumes $800 million of peanut butter annually.
The hazelnut is the nut of the hazel and therefore includes any of the nuts deriving from species of the genus Corylus, especially the nuts of the species Corylus avellana. It also is known as cobnut or filbert nut according to species. A cob is roughly spherical to oval, about 15–25 mm (0.59–0.98 in) long and 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) in diameter, with an outer fibrous husk surrounding a smooth shell. A filbert is more elongated, being about twice as long as its diameter. The nut falls out of the husk when ripe, about 7 to 8 months after pollination. The kernel of the seed is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin, which sometimes is removed before cooking.
Hemp oil is oil obtained by pressing hemp seeds. Cold pressed, unrefined hemp oil is dark to clear light green in color, with a nutty flavor. The darker the color, the grassier the flavour. It should not be confused with hash oil, a tetrahydrocannabinol-containing oil made from the Cannabis flower.
Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil, it is used as a flavor enhancer in many cuisines, having a distinctive nutty aroma and taste. The oil is one of the earliest-known crop-based oils. Worldwide mass modern production is limited due to the inefficient manual harvesting process required to extract the oil.
In biochemistry and nutrition, monounsaturated fatty acids (abbreviated MUFAs, or more plainly monounsaturated fats) are fatty acids that have one double bond in the fatty acid chain with all of the remainder carbon atoms being single-bonded. By contrast, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have more than one double bond.
Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil or arachis oil, is a vegetable oil derived from peanuts. The oil has a strong peanut flavor and aroma. It is often used in American, Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine, both for general cooking, and in the case of roasted oil, for added flavor.
Polyunsaturated fats are fats in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain possesses two or more carbon–carbon double bonds. Polyunsaturated fat can be found mostly in nuts, seeds, fish, seed oils, and oysters. "Unsaturated" refers to the fact that the molecules contain less than the maximum amount of hydrogen. These materials exist as cis or trans isomers depending on the geometry of the double bond.
A pumpkin seed, also known in North America as a pepita, is the edible seed of a pumpkin or certain other cultivars of squash. The seeds are typically flat and asymmetrically oval, have a white outer husk, and are light green in color after the husk is removed. Some cultivars are huskless, and are grown only for their edible seed. The seeds are nutrient- and calorie-rich, with especially high content of fat, protein, dietary fiber, and numerous micronutrients. Pumpkin seed can refer either to the hulled kernel or unhulled whole seed, and most commonly refers to the roasted end product used as a snack.
Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil pressed from the seeds of sunflower. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. The world's total production of sunflower oil in 2014 was nearly 16 million tonnes, with Ukraine and Russia as the largest producers.
Macadamia oil is the non-volatile oil collected from the nuts of the macadamia, a native Australian plant. It is used in food as a frying or salad oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient or fragrance fixative.
Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the Persea americana (avocado). As a food oil, it is used as an ingredient in other dishes, and as a cooking oil. It is also used for lubrication and in cosmetics, where it is valued for its supposed regenerative and moisturizing properties.
Perennial sunflower is a crop of sunflowers that are developed by crossing wild perennial and domestic annual sunflower species.
Marula oil is extracted from the kernels (nuts) of the fruits of the Marula trees, from the Anacardiaceae family. There are two types of marula oil, the oil extracted from the seeds and the oil extracted from the nut's hard shell. Marula oil is traditionally used in cosmetics, in food as a cooking oil, and as a meat preservative and to treat leather.
Cooking oil is plant, animal, or synthetic fat used in frying, baking, and other types of cooking. It is also used in food preparation and flavouring not involving heat, such as salad dressings and bread dippings like bread dips, and may be called edible oil.
Dal is a term used in the Indian subcontinent for dried, split pulses (legumes). The term is also used for various soups prepared from these pulses. These pulses are among the most important staple foods in South Asian countries, and form an important part of the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent.