How to Save Tomato Seeds

One of my goals this summer was to learn how to harvest and store seed from my vegetables so that next year I can replant some of my favorite varieties.  Being new to seed saving, I have discovered through reading that most vegetables need to be left on the plant and picked when they are overripe.  Except for tomatoes.  They can be pulled and seed extracted at any time.  This is great because you can save tomato seeds from the grocery store or your garden!  Follow these simple instructions and you will be ready to plant some delicious tomatoes in your garden or even a container next season!

1. Cut the tomato in half lengthwise.

2.  Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, including their gelatinous surrounding

3.  Place the seeds in a clean cup and top with a few tablespoons of water.

wpid-img_20150806_204020.jpg4.  Cover the cup with a piece of plastic wrap and poke a few holes at the top.

5.  Place the cup in a warm spot like a window sill


6. Fermentation begins at this point and will take 2-3 days.  The water will become “scummy” looking and there will be a layer of film that will form at the top of the water.  The good seeds will start to float to the bottom of the cup.


7.  Uncover and stir the water every night for 2-3 days.  After a good layer has formed at the top, take the cup to the sink and with a spoon carefully remove the filmy layer.

8.  Poor seeds into a kitchen sieve and rinse with water until completely clean.

9.  Lay the cleaned seeds in a single layer on a waxed paper plate, a plate with wax paper, or a coffee filter.  I tried a paper towel but the seeds stuck to the towel.  I found the plate was best.


10.  Place the plates in a cool dark location such as a cabinet and allow the seeds to completely dry for up to a week.  Stir the seeds throughout the drying process to ensure all sides of the seed are drying out.  Properly dried seeds will be able to move freely across the plate when shaken.

11.  When seeds are finished drying, place them in an envelope, label them, and store in a cool dark place.  I read that some people store them in the refrigerator and even the freezer but it  also seems perfectly fine to store them in a basement on a shelf or in my case I placed them in a cabinet in kitchen above the fridge.

Can’t wait to germinate them next year and see if this was successful! Let me know if you have any seed saving tips, or techniques that have worked well for you!

Thank you to gardenweb for the helpful information!

4 responses to “How to Save Tomato Seeds

  1. This is such a great idea! I’ve always loved my garden, but I don’t know why I’ve never invested in saving my own seeds. Thank you for such valuable information! I’m excited to try this process!


    • You are welcome! This is my first year doing this so I will be excited to see how successful it is. I would like to save seed from more vegetables next year. Each year I try and set new goals for my garden, and this season saving seed was one of them! Glad you enjoyed the post:)

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a fantastic goal! I’ve only ever grown plants on my porch. Thank you for all the helpful tips toward new aspirations 🙂


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