Discover How to Save Tomato Seeds

Anyone who has composted leftover tomatoes has likely experienced planting these tomatoes "voluntarily" in the garden if the over-winter compost is used as ground compost or mulch the following spring.

Or maybe you've seen little volunteer tomatoes sprout up in the garden where the tomatoes fell from the plant the year before.

Tomato fruits are loaded with tiny seeds that will sprout easily if they hit the ground. But instead of waiting for accidental volunteers, it's very easy to save tomato seeds so you can plant them exactly when and where you want.

What are you going to need?

Equipment tools:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Mason jar
  • Strainer


  • Mature tomatoes
  • Gauze or paper towel
  • Paper plate
  • Sealable envelope


1. Harvest the seeds

To begin the process, cut the fruit in half so that the tip of the stem is on one side and the flower on the other. This will expose the seed cavities better than cutting the end of the stem.

In some smaller pasta and tomatoes, the seeds are so concentrated in the cavity that you can remove them and still use the tomato pulp for cooking. Many slicing tomatoes will require removing all of the pulp with the seeds. Whatever the case, place the seeds in a clean container or jar.

2. Start fermentation

If there is not enough liquid in the tomato pulp for the seeds to float, add a glass of water to help separate the seeds from the pulp. Next, put the container or jar with tomato seeds and pulp in a warm, secluded place. You should wait 2 to 4 days for fermentation to take place.

When you do this, the mixture will start to smell bad, so keep the container where you won't go through it often.

If you have glass canning jars available, they are a good container for fermenting tomato seeds. The extra space at the top of the bottle controls some of the odor and the transparent sides allow you to keep track of what is happening. Covering the top of the jar with a cheesecloth or a paper towel will keep fruit flies away and will also reduce the spread of the unpleasant odor.

3. Check fermentation

Every day more or less, check the fermentation process. What you want to see in the end is a layer of mold on top of the seeds and pulp. The process is done when bubbles start to appear from the mixture or when the entire layer of tomato pulp becomes covered with mold. Don't let the seeds ferment past this stage or they may begin to germinate.

4. Separate the seeds

Finally, you can remove and discard the cover from the mold. Lifting the seeds before rinsing will make rinsing easier, but not necessary. You can add a little water to the jar or bowl and stir or shake vigorously. The good seeds will settle to the bottom, allowing you to drain the excess first.

5. Clean the seeds

Strain the seed mixture into a strainer and rinse the seeds well under running water. Try to remove the remaining pieces of pulp and mold so that only the clean seeds remain.

6. Dry the seeds

Spread the seeds out on a glass or paper plate to dry. Do not use paper or paper towels or the seeds will stick and be difficult to remove. Put them in a warm, dry place and allow the seeds to dry completely. Shake them on the plate every day to make sure they don't clump and dry evenly. Do not try to speed up the process using heat or you may destroy the seed.

7. Store the seeds

Once the seeds are completely dry, you can store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. The envelope shown here will be placed in a mason jar. Remember to label and date your seeds.

We hope you enjoy this video about How to Save Tomato Seeds:

Source: Deep South Homestead

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