The Q&A Archives: Saving Tomato Seeds

Question: My father has tomato plants that he has keep for many years, he is unable to save the seeds this year due to health reasons. Can you recomend a good way (not messy) to preserve these seeds? I tried this evening and don't know if what I did was right. Took a real (ugh!!) ripe tomato and washed the seeds out, then put them on a paper plate to dry. The seeds were plump, and most I've seen were flat, were they any good?

Hope you can help me, my dad has saved this tomato for almost 20 years and I'd hate to lose it.

Answer: Here's an easier way to save tomato seeds: take a really ripe tomato, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds (there will be a gooey glob surrounding each seed). Don't take any tomato pulp, just the seeds and the surrounding gelatine-like material. Then spread a teaspoonful of seeds on an index card. The gelataneous mass will help them stick to the card. Keep spreading on cards until you run out of seeds. Lay the cards out on a table or counter until the seeds dry. (They'll stick like glue to the cards!) Once you're sure the seeds are thoroughly dry (peel one off the card to make sure), then put all the cards in a jar with a tight fitting lid, close it tight, and store it in a cool, dark location. Next spring your seeds will be ready to plant. If the seeds from your first tomato looked plump it's because they were full of moisture. As they dry, they'll become flat, and they'll look more like tomato seeds.

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