How to save tomato seeds

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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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.

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

How to make tomato skin powder

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Previously I have just thrown my tomatoes peels into the compost after peeling them, but fortunately I got wind of an awesome technique of repurposing these into some tomato peel powder.  This is great when you want to create add some tomato flavor to a omelet or casserole without having to add the additional moisture raw tomatoes would include.  As an added bonus these peels have awesome nutritional and health benefits:

Bioavailability of carotenoids from finely crushed peels homogenized in tomato paste appeared to be similar to lycopene from the tomato flesh. Such a peel enrichment of tomato products would be a means to increase the nutritional value of tomato pastes and to enhance the intake of carotenoids. 1

Step #1: Dry your tomato skins.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can dry them in the oven by setting it at its lowest temperature setting.  For a bit slower drying process you can place a small fan in your dryer wedging the door open slightly and add a small desk fan to get some air circulating.  For added heat place a ceramic reptile heater into the oven to get great results.  Depending on the heat you are generating it should take about 12-24 hours for these skins to dehydrate and be brittle breaking (not flexing) when bent.

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Step #2: Make some tomato powder.  Place your dried tomato peels into a spice/coffee grinder.  I personally went with my Magic Bullet with the grinder attachment.  Grind until

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Grind until until it becomes a fine powder.

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You can store this powder for about 6 months in a airtight container, you can get more life out of these if you hold off grinding to just before use given oxidation can only occur where air is permeable so this will give you richer flavors longer.  I enjoyed about 1/4 teaspoon of this powder on my omelet this morning and was a great flavor without the excess moisture raw tomatoes provide.

If you don’t have enough tomato peels to fill your needs for tomato powder, you can also do the same process on the flesh of the tomatoes by slicing thin and dehydrating and grinding in the same way.

Easiest way to peel a tomato

 

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If you have a lot of tomatoes to peel, I would recommend the classic method of quickly boiling and chilling the tomatoes.  Though if you have just a few tomatoes and are making something like pizza sauce or making a little salsa here is the technique for you.

Step #1: Slice your tomatoes and remove seeds.  Start by slicing your tomatoes down the middle and remove any seeds and membrane using a small spoon.

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Step #2: Grate tomato.  Use your standard cheese grater and shave off all the flesh.  The skin should be thick enough to keep your fingers safe, but still be careful.

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In the end you should have some nice grated tomato ready to make some tomato sauce or some fresh salsa with no chopping required.

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All that is left if your tomato peels, but don’t throw them in your compost I have a post coming up with a great way to not waste these tasty part of your tomatoes.

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Summer harvest

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Well it hasn’t been a great year here in the Northwest for summer vegetables but got enough tomatoes and peppers to make some salsa and get stocked up with enough jalapeno pepper powder (been great on omelets) until next year.

With a larger abundance of ripe jalapeno peppers this batch of peppers have a more festive look to them.

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Here are the peppers ground up, as you can see above this time I kept the seeds in for a little extra bite.

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While picking my tomatoes I also picked some less ripe tomatoes which were not quite ripe but vines no longer were green.  I will let these tomatoes ripen indoors, though the flavors will not be as good as garden fresh tomatoes still better than what I can get in my local grocery store.

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How to peel a tomato

 

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I always settled on making salsa leaving the skins on, knowing there had to be a better way I did a little research and learned a simple way to get those pesky skins off with minimal effort.

The process is very simple, get a pot of boiling water, drop in your tomato for 10-15 seconds ad immediately remove and drop in a bowl of ice water.

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This submersion not only stops the tomato from cooking but this blanching process reduces the bond of the tomato skin.  It was so easy to remove the skins my 6 year old also helped me and removed the skins without any issues.

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The great part of this method it is very easy and given you only lose the thin skin with almost no waste to the tomato.

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I used these tomatoes to make a modified version of my garden salsa which was my best batch yet.

Tomato thief in the garden

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Given our 7 foot fence around the yard, have to rule out deer…my best guess is a raccoon scaling the fence for a snack. 

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Probably the same one who decided that my first tomato looked too good to ripen to save for seeds and pulled the branch off.  It was nice enough to leave the green ones on the fine which I have hung up on my garage where they are turning orange last time I checked them.

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