Always try to duplicate nature
when you're preparing Seeds for furure sowing. A Tomato that has rotted
and virtually vanished may be the best source of Seeds, assuming that Nature's
Creatures leave some for you.
The following process assures
that you will have ample Seeds for sowing. Understand that one Tomato may
yield dozens of Seeds, so the average Gardener may get their next year's
supply from a single Tomato. But your Garden Club members and friends may
demand that you process more.
The Tomatoes in the foreground
are ready for Step 2.
The Seeds in the Sifter are
ready for Step 4.
Always select the very best
Fruit from your very best Plants for Seed collection! Allow them to ripen
on the vine and get over-ripe (past the point where you would eat them).
This insures that the Seeds are fully ripened. You may want to suspend
them above the ground to help protect them.
Cut them in half and expose
the cut side to the sun for 3 to 5 days. Laying them on a piece of fencing
will help keep the cut side up. During this time the Seeds will take on
additional nourishment and maturity.
Remove the Seeds into a coarse
Strainer as shown above. A spoon works well for this removal. Then under
very warm running water, use your fingers or thumb to rub the Seeds against
the sides of the Strainer to remove the sticky Tomato flesh which will
be washed away by the running water.
Spread the damp Seeds on a Paper
Towel. Allow them to dry in a warm room. Optionally, you can dry them in
a Food Dehydrator set to 105 F. Label and
store them in air-tight containers with a packet of Silica Gel, or teaspoon
of Powdered Milk stapled in a Paper Towel "envelope", to absorb moisture.
The dried Seeds may tend to
stick to the Paper Towel, depending on how well you washed them. The back
side of a knife may help to remove them.
These same general steps are
appropriate for saving most Seed varieties.