Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips – July 2020

Saving Tomato Seeds

One of the most popular vegetable (it’s really a fruit) that homeowners in our area enjoy growing is the tomato. It is certainly easy enough to pick up a small plant and put it in the ground or grow in a large pot but I decided after having a tasty crop of Beefsteak tomatoes that I wanted to save the seeds.

Of course, you want to save the seeds from your best and tastiest tomato plants. The plants need to be strong and free of disease and pests. Use tomatoes that are ripe and beginning to rot a bit before extracting the seeds. Cut the desired tomato in half. You will see the seeds inside. They are protected in a gelatinous membrane. You can squeeze the contents into a container or use a spoon to scoop the seeds out. Pull out as much of the solid tomato material as you can without seeds attached but the process will still work.

To get to the seeds, you want to remove the membrane. You can do this in a few different ways. I decided to put water on top of the seeds and let the membranous mixture ferment for a couple of days. Pour some water on top and let it sit for several days in a warm place, it may start to smell. I waited only 2 days as I was excited about doing this. The seeds will start to separate from the pulp and sink towards the bottom of the container, bad seeds will float to the top and should be thrown away. Once the seeds are separated enough, pour off the top sediment and flesh.

If you don’t want to ferment the mixture, just start washing them with fresh water using a strainer or sieve to separate the seeds from the tomato flesh. This may take some time to separate the flesh from the seed but it works and you don’t have to wait for the seeds to separate.

Once you have harvested the seeds you will need to dry them by placing them on some cloth, paper plate or paper towel. The seeds need to be completely dry. Before they are completely dried, separate the tomato seeds using a butter knife or some object as they will stick together. Spread them out and let them air dry. The edges will let you know they are completely died as they look lighter or white around the edges.

Store dried seeds in a paper bag or envelope, this allows for some air movement in and around the seeds while they are waiting to be planted. Lable the storage bag or envelope and store in a dry place to be used next year.

Tomato plant (Roma)

Marinara sauce

Sautee onions in olive oil. Add garlic if you like. Cut open ripened home-grown tomatoes and place in sauce pot. Let simmer, add. Oregano, torn or chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper to task. You can add a pinch of sugar if needed to sweeten a bit. Cook tomatoes until excess water cooks out. You can pull out any tomato skins with a fork, sieve or pull off skin once the tomatoes start to shrivel, either way is fine. I add 2 tablespoons of canned tomato pace if you like to thicken. Save sauce in glass jars or serve sauce with eggplant parmesan, meatballs or others dishes.

By Karen Blackburn

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