Posted on September 26, 2011 - by Crystal Cun
Perfectly ripe heirlooms in a perfumed cascade of colors—who doesn’t love a juicy summer tomato? Little wonder that the French nickname these beauties pommes d’amour, or “apples of love.” As the weather gets cooler, the last of this year’s harvest is coming to an end. However, you can still reap the benefits of a bountiful crop next year by saving the seeds. Here are some tips on how to harvest seeds from tomatoes so that you can enjoy them once again.
- Take a fully ripened tomato and cut it in half. Scoop or squeeze out the seeds and juice into a small, labeled container. If done carefully, the tomato itself can be saved for eating, sun-drying or canning.
- Add a little water to the container so that the seeds can float, then loosely cover it and set it in a warm place for 3-5 days where the odor will not bother you. Stir or swirl the mixture once or twice a day. The seeds will ferment and mold will grow at the surface. This mold is your friend; it eats the gelatinous coat around the seeds that stops germination. It also produces antibiotics that prevent disease.
- The viable, mature seeds will sink to the bottom. Pour off the excess water and solids at the top. Add more water and repeat this step until the seeds are clean and the water being poured off is almost clear.
- Spread the seeds onto a paper towel or plate and let them dry for 1-3 days. Keep them away from direct sunlight. Stir them to make sure they do not dry in clumps.
- Store the seeds in a dark, cool place in an airtight container. Don’t forget to label them with the name, variety and date you saved them!
Do you have tips on how to harvest and save seeds from your garden? Share your ideas and leave a comment below!
By the way, if you have ever wondered why supermarket tomatoes taste like cardboard, check out our review of Tomatoland. This new book discusses the seedy underbelly of Florida’s industrial tomato industry, and its environmental and social costs. It’s a must-read for anyone who has eaten or plans to eat a tomato.
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