Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Saving your own heirloom tomato seeds is easy! The seeds are fun to share with friends and neighbors and make great holiday gifts.  Here is what you do:

1. Pick out a fruit that is free from disease, is ripe, and is one you would want to eat.  By choosing the nicest fruit you can find, you are in effect selecting for the continuation of the tomatoes perfection, the beauty behind growing any heirloom variety.

2. Wash the tomato to remove any dirt or bugs.

3. Slice the tomato in half across the middle and squeeze it by hand or with a citrus juicer into a glass jar or bowl.  A pint mason jar works well. Fill the jar only about half way.  So if you have a really big tomato or want to save more seed, use a bigger jar.

4. Label the jar with the variety name, or get crazy and name your special selection after yourself or your dog. That is the other beauty of heirloom-each generation is slightly different and unique.  After a few years your selection will be adapted to your own micro climate.

5. Set your jar of tomato juice out in the sun for up to five days.  Don’t leave it in your house, or the fruit flies will find you.  Fruit flies are fine outside though, and so is the mold, and over-all fermentation that will occur after a few days. You want this to happen!

6. After a few days, when the liquid has mostly evaporated, refill the jar with clean water and give it a stir.  The viable tomato seeds will sink to the bottom.

7. Slowly pour off the liquid and any floaties.  Keep “cleaning” the seeds until all the pulp is gone.

8. Pour the cleaned seeds onto a towel or plate to dry.  Keep the labeled jars nearby or make new labels so that you don’t get them mixed up.

9. Stir the seeds once or twice a day until they are dry.

10. Store in envelopes, baby food jars, prescription bottles, or in some other dry container you can label.

11. Plant in the spring.

12 Repeat!

To find locally grown heirloom tomatoes, seeds, and lots of other neat stuff, check out!

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