Saving seeds from your tasty home grown tomatoes makes a lot of good old fashioned frugal sense. Think of our ancestors, they did not run to the local big box for transplants or seeds when they wanted to plant their garden. In fact, it was not even a sense of “wanting” to plant a garden, they did it for survival. Cost savings are considerable when you save seeds from your garden plants, and you also would never need to worry about not finding seeds for your favorite varieties.
Here are some easy tips on how to save tomato seeds from your garden.
Select the tomato plants that you would like to save seeds for by choosing the tastiest, healthiest, and easy to grow plants. This will ensure the seeds gathered and saved will have similar, positive qualities.
Allow the tomatoes to ripen completely on the plant, at least to eating stage before harvesting them for seed.
When the chosen tomatoes have been harvested, the seeds will need to be fermented to remove a germination inhibiting gel that covers each seed. This is the slimy, gelatinous substance that coats each fresh, wet tomato seed This fermentation process also kills diseases that may be present. In nature this occurs naturally when tomatoes fall off the vines. This is just imitating nature at its finest.
To ferment your fresh tomato seeds, squeeze or scoop the seeds and surrounding pulp out of the tomato. Place in a jar or glass with a little water, about half water as seeds and pulp. Be sure not to discard the leftover tomato, that can be cooked down into sauce. Waste not, want not!
Store this pulp/seed mixture in a warm place for 2 – 3 days. Try not to go over 85 degrees F, but keep in mind the warmer the area, the faster the seeds will ferment. Fermentation has occurred when you see bubbling and/or white mold forming. Watch very closely as the seeds can actually begin to germinate if left fermenting too long.
As soon as the bubbling or mold have been evident for a day or so, pour the mix into a bowl and clean.
To clean the wet seeds, pour the seeds and pulp into a large, sloping bowl and add water.
Healthy seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while dead seeds and most of the pulp will float. Use your fingers to gently separate seeds from pulp.
Dry seeds completely on a plate or piece of paper towel. Be sure to label as seeds can look similar, especially if you are saving several varieties.
Tomato seeds can be stored for at least 4 years or longer when dried completely and stored safely. Store in a glass jar, being sure they are completely dried first.
For more ideas on frugal living please see http://frugallysustainable.com.