The most famous food use of sunflowers are their seeds. They have a caloric profile of about 74% fat, 12% protein, and 14% carbohydrates. They are also high in vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, and manganese. Sunflower seeds also contain antioxidants chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, and caffeic acid, which help to lower blood pressure, blood sugar levels and are anti inflammatory. The flower petals and stems can also be eaten raw or cooked.
|Wild Helianthus annuus|
Sunchokes can grow to be very tall, up to ten feet tall. Unlike their annual cousin these plants can live for many years. They can be propagated by seed or by dividing the roots.
And lastly, Helianthus maximiliani, or Maximilian Sunflower. This sunflower is also a perennial. While the tubers can also be eaten they are produced at a much lower yield than the sunchoke. Instead, you can eat the young shoots, raw or cooked in stir fry or soup.
Because of the prickly tough nature of the Maximilian sunflower they make a great barrier. These too can grow tall once established. It makes a great habitat and food source for seed eating birds.