“Winning, harvesting, drying, pickling, fermenting, storing, etc. tomato seeds yourself” sounds terribly complicated. But it isn’t, you “harvest” tomato seeds every time you prepare a tomato for seedless cooking. Ultimately, fermenting and pickling means throwing tomato seeds in a liquid. Drying tomato seeds makes the air and storing tomato seeds requires no activity from you. You just need the right tomatoes. Find out where you can get them and why it’s all worth it.

Why harvest tomato seeds yourself?

As more gardeners realize that high yield, uniform shape, color and shelf life are more important factors than good taste when breeding vegetables for food production, interest in seeds from ancient fruit and vegetable varieties has increased. Trade and cultivation are already reacting to consumers’ “taste offensive”. The number of companies that grow naturally grown organic tomatoes of proven or newly discovered cultivars is increasing.

But organic cultivation is cost-intensive, it causes more effort in production, processing and distribution. Preventative crop protection is more labor intensive than applying chemical-synthetic pesticides. The yield of a tasty fruiting tomato plant is smaller than that of the super clone tomato. The cultivated areas cannot and are not continuously used for the cultivation of fruit for sale, but go through phases of green manure. More technical know-how is required for organic plant cultivation and organic processing, and checking whether the quality guidelines, cultivation and processing regulations are complied with also costs money.

As long as we live in a social system in which profit forecasts influence fundamental decisions rather than social and environmental requirements; As long as there are consumers who support this system and deny that they pay the environmental and health costs of cheap prices with their taxes themselves, unpolluted aromatic foods will remain more expensive than contaminated and weak industrial production.


The number of tomato varieties is estimated to be somewhere between 2,500 and 20,000 – and even if the smaller number is correct, it would take you 50 gardening years to grow 50 varieties of tomatoes every year before you’ve tried them all. At some point that will no longer be fun, so here is a suggestion on how to get the tastiest tomatoes a little faster: Use the pre-selection of the connoisseurs and buy all sorts of fine tomatoes for a while (you can usually find one or the other small tomato in the shop try out). These tomatoes are actually all tasty, so it is worth removing tomato seeds from all of them so that you can enjoy discovering your favorite tomatoes.

Collect tomato seeds

Tomatoes need a lot of sun so that they bear fully aromatic fruits. There are enough of these on most balconies, and a balcony is often well protected and often in a city, i.e. half a climate zone warmer. Tomato taste becomes watery when tomatoes get too much water, moderate water supply can be easier on the balcony than in the garden, the balcony can usually be reached in a few steps.

Tomate as „Collaborator“

If necessary, also the supermarket tomato, it doesn’t hurt to try it, the organic the better. But with store-bought tomatoes you can always come across a tomato that has grown from a ‘produced tomato plant’ and is unable to develop reproductive seeds.

You have better chances when buying old tomato varieties that are actually only grown in organic farming and are freely pollinated. You can get them from small local grocers, in the Hoflanden or at a farmer’s market.

Once you’ve collected your first tomato seeds, you can also get involved in swap meets, which trade back and forth all sorts of interesting tomato varieties from around the world.

Obtain seeds from fresh tomatoes

But first you need to get tomato seeds from these delicious tomatoes. It’s not just a matter of pulling out the cores. Of course, the kernels are the tomato seeds. Of course, theoretically these nuclei can also germinate as they are. In practice, there is a slimy covering around the seeds, which contains substances that prevent the seeds from germinating until the covering is broken down. One can well imagine how South American rodents nibble tomatoes, the seeds are freed from the germ layer during the intestinal passage and excreted ready to germinate. If untreated tomato seeds enter the soil without going through a mammalian intestine, the seed coat is also decomposed. This natural fermentation process then takes place on the ground with the fallen tomatoes.

In our house, the tomato seeds have to be germinated indoors, otherwise the growing season for the tomato plant is not long enough. In a seed tray, possibly in sterile potting soil, the microbes that usually break down the germ coat are definitely missing. On the other hand, all sorts of mushrooms find the atmosphere under the hood on the growing soil really great and the seed coat very nutritious. The developing seedling is usually smothered under a dense layer of fungus before the germ shell has decomposed.

Harvest tomato seeds

Harvesting the tomato seeds is less of a problem, a teaspoon is enough for larger tomatoes and quite a few tomato eaters are happy if they don’t have the gel-like pulp in their salad for once.

With cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes, things get a little more fidgety, imaginative parents use the doll’s cutlery, others use the tip of a knife.

When the seeds and the goo (sorry, pulp) have been removed from the tomato, you can wash them thoroughly with water, dry them (see below “Bring tomato seeds with you from vacation”) and then put them in the ground, usually at least part of the seeds will germinate .

Tomatotensamen fermentieren

When tomato growing eventually becomes a passion (like most gourmets do), the seeds become more and more valuable and are supposed to germinate and thrive. Here’s the tomato seed reveal for professionals, which aims to make the seeds stronger, free of disease germs and make the tomato plants germinate very well:

  • Halve tomatoes
  • Scrape the seeds and the gel around them into the glass with a spoon or knife
  • Fill up until tomatoes are covered (very little water for the approx. 50 seeds from one tomato)
  • Leave in the sun for a few days (2-5), the liquid will now begin to ferment
  • When the liquid in the jar looks milky and seeds have sunk to the bottom, strain into a fine sieve
  • Part of the germ coat has become thinner and is draining off
  • The rest is rinsed with water until the seeds are clean
  • Cover a coaster (for casserole dishes, made of wire frame) with kitchen paper
  • Seeds up, set aside to dry, two weeks to a month

Save tomato seeds

Tomato seeds must be stored correctly, but there are a few things to consider:

  • Seeds must be really dry for packaging
  • Moisture carries the risk of moldy seed
  • gute Zwischenlagerung ist ein Butterbrotbeutel, in dem Restfeuchtigkeit ein zwei Wochen wegtrocknen kann
  • Dann in luftdichte Lagerbehälter umpacken, die am besten auch noch Dunkelheit bieten
  • Oder ein Karton dient als Sammelbehälter/Samenlager, dann reichen einfache Gläser mit Deckel
  • Kühl lagern, wenn möglich zwischen 2 und 12 Grad, im Schuppen oder Keller
  • Beschriften, mit dem Sortennamen, falls unbekannt mit Geschmack/Herkunft/Aussehen
  • Das Jahr nicht vergessen, Tomatensamen sind bis zu fünf Jahren keimfähig

Wenn Sie Saatgut verschicken/transportieren möchten, sollte das möglichst bei ähnlicher Temperatur geschehen, wie das Saatgut gelagert wurde. Der Keimling im Samen könnte auf stärkere, kurzfristige Temperaturschwankungen reagieren. Sie können das Saatgut mit einer Dämmschicht umgeben, wenn Sie es verschicken oder im heißen/kalten Auto transportieren.

Sie könnten die Samen auch „Pillieren“. Kinder machen hier meist gerne mit. Beim Pillieren wird der Samen mit einer Hülle umgeben, in der intensiven Landwirtschaft ein Überzug mit antibakteriellen Stoffen, Nährstoffen und/oder keimfördernden Hormonen. Pillieren können Sie aber auch mit Tonerde: Sie geben die Samenkörner in eine Schüssel mit getrockneter gemahlener Tonerde, schwenken sie und sprühen gleichzeitig Wasser mit einem Zerstäuber dazu. Nach und nach entsteht ein dünner Tonüberzug, die fertigen Samen-Kügelchen werden getrocknet. Später können sie auch im Freien einfach auf die Erde verstreut werden. Das Saatgut ist vor Fressfeinden geschützt und der Ton sorgt für gute Wasseraufnahme.

Another way of storage is frozen storage. Dry the seed so that not even the smallest residue of moisture remains, preferably finally over silica gel. After silica gel drying, the seeds are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture from the air. They must therefore be packed airtight and frozen quickly. It would be perfect to seal them in metal-coated bags (coffee bags, ESD vacuum bags from electronics). Seeds packaged in this way remain viable for at least 10 years in a freezer at -18 °C.

Pickle tomato seeds

For the gardener, dressing means soaking seeds in a liquid to promote germination and at the same time destroy bacteria/fungi. There are secret recipes such as horsetail or valerian extracts, salt water, alcohol and commercially available dressings (more tailored to smooth seeds), the following dressings are suitable for tomato seeds:

  • Boil and cool chamomile tea, put seeds in it
  • Squeeze garlic juice, dilute and put seeds
  • The seeds remain in both dressings for about 5 hours
  • Both dressings are intended to suppress mold growth during germination

Bring tomato seeds back from vacation

There are many holiday countries where the tomatoes taste fantastic, the real tomato growers get itchy fingers, and the hotel room is turned into a tomato seed drying facility. That’s possible, but you should use a little trick so that the precious tomato seeds aren’t cleaned away by a zealous cleaner:

  • Get cardboard, in an emergency store the toiletry bag (from the tomato grower, not the protesting partner) in a plastic bag
  • Take some napkins with you at the next meal
  • Put the seeds in the toothbrush glass with a tool or finger
  • Put lukewarm water on it, rinse off as much pulp as possible (stir with toothbrush handle)
  • Put the nylon stocking over the glass and allow as much water as possible to drip off
  • Scatter seeds on a towel and allow to dry
  • Put on serviettes in the carton/toilet bag, dry in the sun

These tomato seeds keep for a very long time and would take longer to germinate than the fermented seeds, since the germ-inhibiting layer has not yet broken down. Unless you pickle the tomato seeds before sowing:

Tomato cultivation is worthwhile for anyone with a taste for aromatic foods. Winning tomato seeds yourself is also worthwhile, this is how you get the tomato seeds that produce tomatoes with taste. The preparation of the tomato seeds, which sounds so complicated, is not rocket science on closer inspection, but consists of a sequence of quite simple work steps, in which the tomato farmer only needs to know what he is doing, when and why – the path to growing aromatic tomatoes is shorter than many people think .

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *