How to save tomato seeds


It is really easy to save tomato seeds is a little more difficult that other vegetables seeds, but with a little patience and the right technique you can save your seeds with very little effort.

Step 1: Get the seeds.  The easiest way to get to your seeds it do cut the tomato across the hemisphere as shown below.


This will give you easy access to the seeds, though if you are slicing your tomatoes at a different angle you can easily pull out some seeds with a prong of a fork or spoon.  The cutting board will normally hold more than enough seeds than I will need for the following year.


Step 2: Get the junk off the seeds.  The seeds have a gel-like substance that surrounds the seeds along with some pieces of flesh that you did not take the time to pick out.  There are a couple of techniques to do this:

  1. Add some water to the seed mixture, cover with plastic and let them ferment for a few days.
  2. Mix tomato seed mix with equal amount of powdered disinfectant cleanser and let sit for 30 minutes

Given the fermentation methods can stink up your kitchen and the powdered disinfectant methods doesn’t exactly sounds organic I went with my own method I call the soak and rinse technique.

Drop the seeds in a small bowl with some water and let soak for a couple hours.  Pour off anything floating to the top (seeds too they won’t germinate) into your sink


Pour what remains into a strainer and give a quick rinse with water.


Repeat the soak and rinse process twice a day and notice the amount of gel decreasing.


Once the seeds look like the ones below (about 2-2.5 days) they are ready to be dried.


Step 3: Drying the seeds.  I do this by spreading the seeds on a labeled coffee filter trying best to keep seeds from touching.  Once they dry (couple days to a week) store them with your other seeds.


With very little effort and a few days of waiting you can collect seeds to use/share/trade for next season.

10 Responses to “How to save tomato seeds”

  1. SixBalloons Says:

    Looks great, I saved seeds from my Cherokee Purple tomatoes (yum) this week and I was a whole lot sloppier than what you’ve shown above! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Catherine Says:

    Great detailed article, thanks for this, will look to do this soon, great timing!

  3. URFarmer Says:

    Very helpful how to post, thanks. I can’t help but wonder at how few people know how to save seeds these days. We are so used to just getting our seeds from a little paper packet.

  4. One Sunny Acre Says:

    I just started saving tomato seeds this year when I found out how easy it was. I use the ferment method. I also try to select for the best plant specimen I had growing in my garden and use the most fully mature tomatoes from it. I like to trade heirloom O/P seeds online and this is a great way to have lots of seeds to trade with! 🙂 I enjoy your blog, been reading for sometime. Lots of good info on here!

  5. Linda Peppin Says:

    I had never thought of saving seeds from vegetables. Do they come true to the variety?

  6. Christine Says:

    Thanks for this post. I want to save seeds from a volunteer grape tomato that just popped up in my yard. The tomatoes are so good I want to grow them again but I have no idea what kind they are. The fermentation method looked kind of gross but this method looks less much more appealing!

  7. gardenflower Says:

    Thanks for sharing this helpful article. This would truly be a great guide in saving the best tomato seeds for the next growing season 🙂

  8. Vanessa Says:

    I always assumed you had to ferment the seeds I am happy to know that there is another way!

  9. Bruce Says:

    When should you start the seedlings?

  10. Bruce Says:

    I’m looking at next year. I will be saving my Cherokee Purple Tomato seeds. Does anyone know how well they do in humid areas like Hawaii? I might be moving there early next year. Not many people have heard of this tomato plant in Hawaii.

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