How to Harvest Heirloom Tomato Seeds to Save for Next Year’s Garden

Daylight savings time. That special time of year when it is suddenly pitch black by dinner time. Ha. I guess that means we are really in the thick of Fall. I guess that also means that the days of bountiful harvests of delicious, juicy and flavorful tomatoes is fast coming to a close. Darn. We had a few really delicious tomato varieties this year in the garden. Our plant that produced the best was a Black Krim organic, heirloom tomato plant (as far as I can tell, I don’t remember what the gal who I bought it from said). Woah. So good. We had some really good Romas too, but they just aren’t as overwhelmingly delightful as the Black Krims. We also had a yellow-ish heirloom variety (the larger ones pictured below), but it didn’t fair too well in our crazy heat wave. Anyway…the point is, I WANT MORE! And so…I have harvested and prepared some seeds to save for next year’s garden! Genius, right? You should do it too!!

Here’s how I harvested my heirloom tomato seeds to plant again!

1. I picked a few really ripe and delicious looking Black Krim tomatoes from the vine.

2. I cut them in half (stem part up as I cut, to reveal the most seeds) and sort of squeezed the seeds AND the gel and juice surrounding them (basically all the goodies) into a small glass container.

3. I added enough filtered water to cover the top of the tomato goo, covered the container, and let it sit out to mold. Oh…you read that right. I waited about five days, though the article I had read said to wait 3-5 days. I kept forgetting about it. The molding process separates the gel from the seeds.

4. Once a layer of white mold formed on top (and I actually remembered the plan), I drained the gnarly concoction and let any floating seeds go right on out with the liquid. They would be duds come Spring and wouldn’t germinate. Boo. Then I saved (obviously) the seeds hanging out on the bottom.

5. I used a fine sieve and water to rinse off the good ones. You will want to really get in there with your hands, making sure all the gel is rinsed away.

6. I placed them on a labeled paper plate for a couple of days to let them dry out. This worked really well as the seeds didn’t stick to it too terribly! Nice!


7. When the seeds were completely dry, I transferred them into a small (think lunch sack size) paper bag that I had cut most of the top off of, taped it up, labelled it and tossed it in the fridge. You can also store them in any dark, dry, cool location, but I figured I’d go refrigerator to be safe.

That’s it! Now…this is my first time attempting to harvest heirloom tomato seeds to plant again, so we’ll see how it turns out next Spring. Haha. But, it seems like it should work perfectly and that next year I will have loads of amazingly delicious organic, heirloom Black Krim seeds to plant and share!

Now … all I need to do is find a rockin’ gluten free, somewhat clean, fried green tomatoes recipe for my late crop of tomatoes that I just don’t think are going to see the light of the sun enough to ripen at this point. Bummer. Or…is it? I hear fried green tomatoes are pretty dang goooood! Stay tuned for that adventure!

Have you every harvested seeds, tomato or otherwise, and had success with them producing the following year? I’d love to hear about it!

*the original info that I used to know what to do came from: http://www.squawkfox.com/2009/10/20/save-heirloom-seeds/

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