Harvesting Sunflowers

Did you know that harvesting sunflowers was a thing? Someone asked me that not along ago and I had to confirm that this was indeed true. Why else would you grow all of these beautiful flowers in Moldova?

DSC_0448I had the opportunity to visit my host family’s village home recently and helped with the sunflower harvest using a traditional, old-style method.

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This traditional style method involves hitting the dried up sunflower heads with a stick to knock all the seeds out of them. Yes, all the black you see in the photo are sunflower seeds.

If you need to deal with any kind of anger or stress this is a great and healthy way to deal with it, trust me. I spent hours sitting with my host family and some neighbors one weekend as a mix of Romanian/village language blended in with the steady beating sound of seeds being dispersed around us. Check out the 8 second clip of how it’s done…

I discovered that I liked the process that this harvest involved as it was mundane and therapeutic at the same time. It gave me some time to clear my mind as well as enjoy the quality time with my host family.

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So many dried-up sunflowers to work through… and so many sunflower seeds!

The seeds will be taken someplace where they will be pressed to make sunflower oil. This is the type of oil that we cook and bake with most often here in Moldova. I will come to appreciate the oil that we will use this winter a little more now knowing what goes into the process. As for the sunflower heads that no longer have seeds in them, they can be used as kindling for a fire to heat a home or to cook food over.

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Me, working away and enjoying all there is to harvesting sunflower seeds this summer.
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