Saving seeds from tomatoes is a little different than saving seeds from most vegetables. It is not hard at all, just a little more time consuming, but VERY worth it. Not very long ago nearly all people who lived in rural america considered it a norm to save seed back for next season. More than likely your grandparents grew thier favored variety of tomatoes that they had saved throught the years. I intend to uphold that great tradition and believe it essential to the sustainable lifestyle.
Choose healthy and vigorous plants that produced well to harvest seed from. The characteristics of each plant shows through the next generations. Also, be sure that they are separated other varieties by at least 10 feet. This insures that next year’s crop will be pure and true to the current one. Older varieties have longer styles ( therefore more potential for cross pollination) and may need to be separated by another 10 or 15 feet.
1. Pick several high quality tomatoes from a few of your best tomato plants. It can be difficult to sacrifice good tomatoes, but you’ll thank yourself next year.
2. Cut the fruit in half. Squeeze the seeds into a clean container. Double the volume of liquid by adding equal parts pure water.
3. Let the tomatoes ferment in a warm, far away place (they stink!) for 3 days or until a scum form on the top. Add more water and stir.
4. Pour water off of the top discarding the seeds that float. The good seeds will drop to the bottom of the container. Add more water and continue until only good seeds remain.
5. Transfer seeds into a strainer and dry with a towel. Place seeds on a clean plate until completely dry.
6. Store seeds in a small glass jar in a cool, dark place.
You will not regret doing saving your tomato seeds. In just a few years you will probably want to enter your tomatoes into a contest…if you don’t eat it first!
Happy Growing and Cooking!