Tomatoes for the future
Saving tomato seeds is a way to preserve your favorite varieties for future seasons. It can be a tad messy, but it's fairly simple. For supplies, you'll need paper cups, uncoated paper plates, permanent-ink pen, spoon, a fine-mesh sieve and glass or plastic vials. It's best to save only open-pollinated (non-hybrid) varieties, since the offspring of hybrids may not have the same traits. Thanks to Craig "Tomato Man" Lehoullier (http://nctomatoman.weebly.com) for sharing these tips for collecting and saving tomato seeds:
- Use tomatoes that are at the edible stage (not overripe or rotting).
- Write the name of the tomato on a cup and on a paper plate.
- Cut fruit in half and squeeze the contents—seeds, juice and pulp—into cup.
- Place cup outdoors in a covered, shaded area.
- After about three days, a layer of white fungus will form. Fill the cup with water and carefully remove and discard fungus layer. Pour contents of cup into a sieve. Run water over the seed mass while pressing with a spoon so that everything but the seeds passes through the mesh.
- Scrape out clean seeds, place on the paper plate and let them air-dry indoors for about two weeks.
- Store tomato seeds in glass or plastic vials. The seeds will last 10 years or more. There's no need to freeze or refrigerate.