Sunflowers are nice to look at. The
Sunflower is an attractive flower that got its name for its shape and image that
depicts the sun.
The seeds can be eaten, processed into either a peanut butter or a
sunflower butter alternative. The seeds and its oil are used for cooking and
baking bread, in producing medicines, dyes and body paints, types of rubber,
for livestock feed and for phytoremediation (treating environmental problems).
The leaves can be used for feeding cattle. The flower’s stem contain fiber that
is used in paper production.
During the eighteenth century, the use of sunflower oil became very
popular in Russia, particularly with members of the Russian Orthodox Church,
because sunflower oil is one of the few oils that is
allowed during Lent, according to some fasting traditions.
Sunflowers were grown in Cherkassy in my Grandmother's day. Today they
are now grown there commercially. People in the surrounding villages still have
them growing in their yards.
The following story is one of my childhood memories: One day my
grandmother returned from doing her grocery shopping in a very happy mood. She
had found in a candy store a small box of sunflower seeds. It cost 2 cents. It
was meant for people to buy to eat. She said it reminded her of her childhood
and bought them for the purpose of planting them. She had no garden; but made a
decision as to what she would do. She went to a Russian (who lived across the
street) to ask if she could plant them his garden. I wanted to go with her. She
would not allow this, for she said he did not like Jews. She let me wait
outside the fence of his house. I heard her speaking with him in a foreign
language - Russian. He gave her permission to plant a few of them. Every day she would carry a pitcher of water
for her sunflowers down the stairs from her apartment to his garden. She
succeeded in growing four beautiful sunflowers.