This Unexpected Grilled Sunflower Dish Is Taking Over TikTok

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There's no doubt that summer is prime time for grilling. From classic burgers to vegetable kabobs, there are so many foods that taste better grilled. Yet, even if you're a self-proclaimed grill master, we might have found one recipe that you haven't tried before. Grilled sunflower heads are now trending on TikTok, and we are so intrigued.

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In a viral TikTok video, user @redleafranch explains how to make the grilled dish. The process starts with a sunflower that has young, immature seeds, which are light in color and soft to the touch. Next, they cut the sunflower head from the stem, then remove the petals and tiny flower buds. Finally, they wash the sunflower head, coat it with oil and spices, and grill it face down for five minutes. Apparently, the flavor of the final product is similar to corn!

As it turns out, people have been enjoying the dish for some time. Last year, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company in Missouri shared the dish in a Facebook video. Their grilled sunflower was cooked with the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes (so smart), then topped with sun-dried tomatoes and chopped basil. The company noted that you can eat it like a corn on the cob or use a fork.

Meanwhile, according to Honolulu Magazine, Waimānalo Country Farms in Hawaii served grilled sunflower heads at the Kailua Farmer's Market earlier this summer. Their version was made with salt, pepper, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.

What is the origin of grilled sunflower heads?

Reportedly, the dish was created by Tomasz Skowronski, co-owner of Apteka, a vegan restaurant in Pittsburgh. According to a 2018 article by Pittsburgh Magazine, Skowronski was inspired by his childhood memories of farmers markets in Warsaw, Poland, where kids and adults alike enjoyed sunflower seeds right off of whole sunflower heads.

And while the current Apteka menu doesn't offer grilled sunflower heads, it ​does​ feature dishes like spent sunflower seed bread and a strawberry and rhubarb cake with sunflower milk ice cream.

Who knew sunflowers were so versatile?

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Kirsten Nunez is a writer and author who focuses on food, health, and DIY. In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." Her work has appeared on eHow, Martha Stewart, Shape, VegNews, and more. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York.