How To Store Tomato Seeds For Next Year? (4 Handy Tips)

how to store tomato seeds for next year
how to store tomato seeds for next year

Tomatoes, a major dietary source of antioxidants, have been linked to several health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Studies suggest that they are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium folate, and Vitamin K that have a role in reducing inflammation, decreasing cholesterol levels, and boosting your immune system.

Tomatoes are a must-have in any kitchen. They are used almost in all dishes and serve as the main ingredient in many.

From a traditional Greek salad to the chicken chili curry, whatever you are prepping, you need to have tomatoes in your kitchen pantry to give your dish its exquisite flavor. 

One of the easiest ways to always have them available for your early morning tomato egg sandwich breakfast or to fulfill your late-night spaghetti marinara craving is to grow the tomatoes in your backyard.

tomato cut

Growing tomatoes by yourself mean you can use fresh tomatoes from the farm anytime. 

Having tomato plants in your backyard not only gives you the benefit of enjoying the organic fresh tomatoes of your home but also saves you from the exhaustion of traveling too far away to get them when you have unexpected guests over for dinner. 

However, it comes with a little too much effort. Now to grow and have those fresh tomatoes, you need tomato seeds that are very carefully preserved before they are sown in the ground.

The rightly preserved tomato seed can be stored for up to five years and can yield tomato plants in multiple seasons.

If you carry out the whole process carefully and properly, it can save you time, money, and the hassle of looking for perfectly preserved tomato seeds in different stores.

Although these are one of the great crops for beginner seed savers as their seeds are easy to exact and work with compared to a lot of others.

Nevertheless, if any of the steps in cleaning and preserving the tomato seeds go wrong, the tomato plant will either not grow properly or have a low-yield, and all your hard work and efforts will be in vain.

growing tomato

Now that you know the benefits of having farm-fresh tomatoes and how accurately preserved seeds can last for a couple of years, we will discuss some simple and easy ways to store them for next year in our article.

So without any other distractions, let’s get right into it and save your money from buying tomato seeds from the market next year.

How to Store Tomato Seeds for Next Year?

  1. Choose the Tomatoes Carefully.

The type of tomato you choose to store seeds plays a very important role in preserving and growing the plant from that seed. Therefore, make sure that you choose the tomato that is of the best quality.

Picking ripe tomatoes without any blemishes, brightly colored, and plump is preferable as their seeds will be mature and easier to remove than the unripe ones.

Also, ensure that they have a sweet taste. This is because the traits of the parent tomato will be inherited by the new tomato that will grow from the seed.

tomato seed

You must also vigilantly avoid tomatoes that are misshapen or come from the plant with pest damage and have clearly been infected, as those traits, too, may be inherited by the new plant and the seeds you saved from them may experience similar setbacks.

One important thing that people usually get confused about is the tomatoes skin, so know that if the skin of your tomato has cracked, don’t let it stop you from saving its seed, dispose of the skin, use the tomato and save the seeds so you can store them for next year!

  1. Separate the Seeds.

Once you have chosen the right tomato, separate the seeds from the tomato. To do this, cut the tomato in half with the help of a knife and squeeze its seeds out in a container or mason glass jar.

Pulp and tomato juice will inevitably fall into the container with your seeds, but don’t sweat; it will all be fine.

This pulp and tomato juice covering your tomato seeds will provide them with a conducive environment where they can ferment properly.

Once you have all the pulp, juice, and tomato in the glass jar, cover it up with the lid or cloth to keep the ferment’s unpleasant smell, and the fruit flies away.

Label the tomato seed ferment with the date and let it ferment for 5-6 days. 

It is necessary to get your tomato seeds through the fermentation process as this removes the jelly-like sac that surrounds tomato seeds that prevent the germination of seeds.

 Now when you have put your jar aside, enjoy the rest of your tomato however you like, in salsa, salad, fresh pasta sauce, or to make your favorite chicken curry.

After a couple of days, while your tomato seed ferment jar lies on your kitchen counter, all the good quality tomato seeds will sink to the bottom with layers of watery juice, then pulp and mold on the top.

If these layers are present, your ferment is complete, and your seeds are ready to be separated.

tomato seeds

Pour your mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a separate large bowl to separate the seeds, rinse the seeds thoroughly under running water until the water running off is completely clear, and get rid of all possible pulps and juices.

Dispose of the unneeded pulp in your bin and separate the seeds.

  1. Dry The Seeds.

Now that you have separated the seeds, progress to the third step of storing your tomato seeds.

Dry the seeds by first removing all the water. It is essential to dry these seeds as quickly as possible, allowing them to maintain quality for many coming seasons.

Remove all the floating seeds and flip the sieve to put the seeds on a paper towel, screen, or other material that allows airflow on all sides.

Spread the seeds, so they are relatively far from each other, and let them completely dry in about a week in a warm and dry place with plenty of ventilation.

Temperatures between 70- 90 degrees F are ideal for dying seeds. You may also place a fan for wicking away moisture from your seeds or manually rub away any clumps that form.

Check if your seeds are adequately dried up before moving towards the storing up step.

An easy way to know if the seeds are thoroughly dried is to press the seed between two heads of the tweezers; if the seed breaks, it’s dried up for storage, and if it bends, it needs more time to dry.

Ensuring labeling of tomato seeds and avoiding mixing them. If you’re working with multiple tomato seed varieties, this will prevent cross-contamination. 

That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re planting when it’s time to garden.

  1. Store The Seeds.

The final step is storing the seeds. Make sure that the seeds are properly dry.

You can keep your seeds wherever you like, in an air-tight glass container, envelope, or even desiccant packets that you can find in vitamins or seaweed snacks.

Choosing a desiccant packet will definitely up your game of storing the tomato seeds, as it helps reduce humidity even more. You can also use silica gel to keep the seeds dry.

 Also, note the date you saved them, so you can be sure of when you can use them for your benefit and they will make a plant that yields gorgeous high-quality tomatoes.

It is recommended to store the dried seeds at a temperature of about 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit if you use them soon.

 For longer-term storage, it is suggested to store the seeds in the refrigerator or freezer as lower temperatures in an air-tight container will provide the ideal environment to stay perfect for planting even after a couple of years.

The Bottom Line

Some tomatoes are chock-full of mature seeds, while others may have very few. Either way, a few tomatoes saved will likely surround you with hundreds of seeds. Storing these seeds is a simple yet long process.

It is not a one-day thing and requires a lot of effort and patience to choose the right tomatoes and let them ferment for an appropriate duration before separating them from the juices and pulp.

If you work with composure and do not hasten to separate the seeds, giving them their required time, you can store tomato seeds for yourself for the next year and the next 5 years.

We have provided you in this article with a step to step beginner’s guide to help you figure out how to store your tomato seeds for the next year.

Now that you have learned all the steps make your way to the kitchen and start storing some for next year. Also, when you are successful, be generous and share them with family, friends, and neighbors.

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