Chanie Kirschner is a writer, advice columnist, and educator who has actually covered topics ranging from parenting to fashion come sustainability.

You are watching: Can you eat the shell of a sunflower seed


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Why can’t us eat sunflower seed whole? an excellent question. Ns know about this one firsthand since I ended up being hooked top top sunflower seed (and their hulls, together the shells room technically called), earlier in the summer after 4th grade. Mine summer camp take it a field trip come a minor organization baseball game, and as a unique treat, provided out sunflower seed to every one of us come eat at the game. I thought chewing and spitting the end the sunflower seed was so gross that I decided to eat the sunflower seed entirety — kernel, hull, everything. Besides, the external is the part that’s salted and tastes the finest to a kid favor me anyway. Good idea, right?


Where carry out Sunflower seeds Come From?

Before i tell friend what happened to me the weekend complying with the sunflower seed incident, let’s speak a little about these nifty little creations. Sunflower seeds space the fruit indigenous — surprise! — sunflowers. The external shell that the sunflower particle is actually referred to as the hull. When the hull is left intact, the seed are dubbed in-shell sunflower seeds. Once the hull is removed, the seeds themselves are called kernels. The previous is usually uncovered in the grocery store aisle next to the nuts, when the latter is usually found next come the other seeds used as flavors or toppings, such together poppy seeds or sesame seeds.


Eating sunflower seeds has actually long been an American pastime, specifically at baseball games. Together anyone who has been to a baseball game can phone call you, the floor the the bleachers is typically littered (and in some stadiums, covered) through the hulls of sunflower seeds.


so Why Can’t us Eat the Shell?

The reality is, like many things in nature roughly us, you deserve to eat it, but you may not choose the results. The an outcome of mine trying to eat the shells of the sunflower seed at the ball video game that fateful summer? A weekend at home in discomfort. Though i was fortunate to experience only mild stomach pain, eating numerous sunflower seed shells has actually been known to reason constipation the can result in pains blockage. Additionally, the spicy edges the the shells can cause tears in your esophagus or in other places along your digestive tract. One more reason to spit the shells instead of eat them.


Why carry out sunflower seeds have actually shells in the very first place, you may ask? i’ve heard the the sunflower seeds shells are there for the same reason that nuts have difficult shells too; the shells safeguard the fruit inside when the nut or seed has actually fallen native the plant. The nut permits the seed to stay intact long enough to germinate and produce one more nut tree or particle plant.

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Though you may not be able to eat the hull that a sunflower seed, the kernel itself package a nutritious punch, providing you with an useful nutrients like vitamin E and also magnesium. Bonus: Sunflower seeds space rich in phytosterols, a tree chemical that has actually been shown to assist reduce cholesterol. Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin C, iron, and also even fiber, amongst many various other nutrients.