Tag Archives: Sunflowers

Sunflowers, Take Your Bow

8 Sep

If you close your eyes and imagine a Tuscan landscape, it’s hard not to picture a field of sunflowers or girasole. 

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

They are as much a part of the vistas as olive groves and vineyards. These magnificent yellow flowers are planted each spring and perform their role admirably throughout the summer, standing tall and delighting all who seek them out. They generously pose for hours on end for cameras, never complaining or shying away from the sun. And they are a beautiful addition to any table setting.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Then in the fall, after months of performing, they stand together and begin their final bow.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Even after they have lost their bright yellow color, sunflowers still have much to offer in harvest. As mentioned before in a previous post, …

  1. Sunflower seeds are edible, whether eaten raw, cooked, roasted or dried. They are a nutritious snack containing protein, vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, nitrogen and iron.
  2. Some people ground the seeds to make flour for cakes and breads.
  3. The seed heads are a source of food for birds and animals. Sunflower seeds are a major ingredient in commercial birdseed.
  4. Sunflower oil is a popular vegetable oil known for its light colour, mild flavour, low levels of saturated fats and ability to withstand high cooking temperatures.
  5. The oil can also be added to soap, lubricants and candles.
  6. Sunflower oil can help relieve skin conditions, hemorrhoids and ulcers.
  7. Sunflower roots can remove radiation from soils and water. They were used to clean up the Chernobyl disaster.
  8. The root of the plant is also used in traditional herbal medicine to treat snake bites and spider bites.
  9. The flowers can be used to make an all natural dye.
  10. The stalks are used to make paper and clothes.

So, as the sunflowers take a well deserved bow, it’s nice to know we benefit from them in so many other ways.

Ovation, please!

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

Sunflower: Girasole

1 Oct

Driving through Tuscany in the summer, a common site is a field of sunflowers. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think they were shy, as it seems they are always facing away when I want to take a picture. An understanding of the name, however,  helps one understand – gira sole literally means turns toward the sun, and that is exactly what they do.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

But what happens to them in the fall? As you might imagine, they look quite different.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Once they reach this state, sunflowers are cultivated for their edible seeds, which are an important source of oil for cooking. Timing is important as the seeds need to be harvested before they begin to dry and loosen, and before the squirrels and birds decide to do the harvesting for you.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

According to Fun Flower Facts, by Connor Lowry, here are some ways the sunflower can be used besides being a wonderful ornamental flower:

  1. As you know, sunflower seeds are edible. They can be eaten raw, cooked, roasted or dried. They are a popular, nutritious snack containing a good source of protein, vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, nitrogen and iron.
  2. Traditionally, North American Indians ground the seeds to make flour for cakes and breads.
  3. The petals are also edible; they can be cooked and eaten like artichokes.
  4. Humans aren’t the only ones that find sunflowers tasty. The seed heads are also a source of food for birds and animals. Sunflower seeds are a major ingredient in commercial birdseed.
  5. Sunflower leaves are used as feed for livestock.
  6. Sunflower oil is a popular vegetable oil known for its light colour, mild flavour, low levels of saturated fats and ability to withstand high cooking temperatures.
  7. The oil can also be added to soap, lubricants and candles.
  8. Sunflower oil can help relieve skin conditions, hemorrhoids and ulcers.
  9. Sunflower roots can remove radiation from soils and water. They were used to clean up the Chernobyl disaster.
  10. The root of the plant is also used in traditional herbal medicine to treat snake bites and spider bites. The leaves can be made into tea to relieve fevers, lung ailments and diarrhea.
  11. The flowers can be used to make an all natural dye.
  12. The stalks are used to make paper and clothes.

So, now you know what happens to those lovely flowers that always seem to make us smile.

Ciao,

Judy

How to Say “Yellow” in Italian…

13 Jul
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Ciao,

Judy

5000 Views…Grazie!!!

14 Jul

WOW! Today blogginginitaly.com reached 5000 all time views! Not bad for a one year old site that started as a way to share our travels with family and a few friends. I’m humbled and honored to have so many readers and love all the feedback and comments. Just this week, I heard from a lady in Florida who will be spending a month in Cortona in the fall. She said the blog really helped her, and that is so rewarding for me. So, a huge thank you to all who have read and enjoyed the posts, especially Len and Benita! Stay tuned for more to come. For now, however, although a picture can’t truly capture the beauty, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite vistas of Tuscany. To enlarge, just click on the photo.

Ciao and Grazie!

Judy

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