How to save and store tomato seeds

Saving seeds from ripe tomatoes
Saving seeds from ripe tomatoes

In order to get the best seeds you’ll need to collect from ripe, healthy tomato fruits.

Unripe tomatoes won’t have had enough time to produce mature seeds.
Cut or squash the tomatoes to extract the seeds.
Discard the flesh of the tomatoes, saving only the seeds.

Tomato seeds have a protective 'seed coat' which needs to be removed

Tomato seeds have a protective 'seed coat' which neds to be removed

The seeds will be surrounded by a jelly-like ‘seed coat’ which needs to be removed

To remove the protective seed coat, place the seeds in water

To remove the protective seed coat, place the seeds in water

The best way to get rid of the seed coat is to soak the seeds in water for 7-10 days.

Tomato seeds in water. Day 1

Tomato seeds in water. Day 1

 

The protective 'seed coat' has rotted away after ten days in water

The protective coat is disolved after 10 days in water

After this period most if not all the jelly will have rotted in the water leaving just the seeds.

Seive the seeds through a strainer

Seive the seeds through a strainer

Pour the seeds in to a seive and rinse with clean running water. A gentle rub with your fingers will seperate any remaining jelly.

Shake the seive to remove as much water as possible before tipping the seeds on to a piece of tissue paper. Seperate the seeds so that they are not touching each other and leave to dry for a further few days.

When dry the seeds can be stored on a dry paper bag

When dry the seeds can be stored in a dry paper bag

When completely dry place the seeds in a sealed paper bag and keep cool and dry, or you can use a sealed plastic bag and keep the seeds in a fridge (not the freezer).
Remember to lable the seeds.

Properly stored, the seeds can stay viable for a number of years.

Tomato advice is just one of the thousands of plant advice on the Complete Gardens CD-ROM

8 Responses to How to save and store tomato seeds

  1. Great post! This is wonderful information. 🙂

  2. Excellent instruction.

    That’s exactly the way I prepare and save my tomato seeds.

    Also, store your seeds in a cool dry place to keep them viable longer. Heat and moisture cause the plant embryo in the seed to use up its food supply faster. That’s why seeds die.

  3. A very good tutorial about saving tomato seeds.

    Remember not to save seeds belonging to hybrid varieties (F1’s) as they will probably not produce fruit the same as their parents.

  4. Neil.b says:

    Thank you for the useful advice about F1’s seeds not producing the same fruit as the parents.

  5. Evan Roey says:

    Amazing tips about saving and store the tomato seeds! Can you send me some more tips!
    Garden Experts

  6. Tyffanie Perez says:

    I understand that an image may be used in a classroom setting without permission. I am planing on using your image on the seeds with the gel capsules in a brief PowerPoint presentation on saving seed in one of my classes. I put your name on the image and will cite the webpage. I hope this is Okay. Thank you.

  7. John B. says:

    ok how do you tell f1 from f whatever type of seeds. I ordered San Marzano seeds from Italy will the fruit have seeds worth saving so as to produce fruit the following year

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