Today we are saving our tomato seeds. After our cold spring, the tomatoes are so late I began to despair of ever having them…but here they are! We are loving the varieties we chose this year, and want to have them again so I am in the process of saving some seeds. My seed saving process uses fermentation. It helps destroy many of the potential tomato diseases in seeds.
I take my tomato and slice it in half across the middle (I’ve heard this referred to as its “equator”). With my well-washed fingers scoop out the seeds and surrounding goo into a clean plastic cup. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the seeds,. Cover with a piece of plastic-wrap and poke a small hole into the plastic with a knife.
I put the container of seeds in a warm location. Now it ferments. This takes about two or three days. Each night remove the plastic-wrap, stir the seed and water mixture, and then replace the plastic-wrap. The top of the liquid will look “scummy” when the fermentation process has finished.
Take the container of fermented seeds to the sink and with a spoon carefully remove the scummy surface. Pour the container’s contents into a fine kitchen sieve and rinse the seeds with water several times.
Line an open plate with a piece of waxed paper or a large automatic-drip coffee filter. Or use an absorbant paper plate. Spread the rinsed seeds onto the plate in a single layer. Keep the plate in a safe location where the seeds can dry for a few days. (I put them in a closed room so my kitties and dogs don’t get at them!) Stir the seeds a few times during the drying process to assure that all their surfaces are evenly dry. Spread them out again into a single layer after each time they’re stirred. Tomato seeds are thick and may take a week to dry thoroughly. I know they’re dry when they do not stick to one another or the plate.
Store each variety in either a paper envelope or plastic bag. Keep them absolutely dry. I label them with the variety if I know it, or a great description of the fruit if I don’t. If I plan on trading seeds, I describe them as open-pollinated since there is a rare chance of cross breeding.
I find that these seeds are a great hit as gifts…a few tucked into a holiday card go a long way towards being remembered fondly in the coming year.

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