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Friday, August 19, 2011

Collecting Tomato Seeds: Gel Sac and Fermentation

I am continuing to experiment with tomato seed collecting. I will soon publish a full article on the process. Some of the stuff I learned is that 4-6 days seems to work to ferment your seeds and in most cases fermentation starts in 24 hours. I typically start the fermentation process on Sunday and collect the seeds to dry on Thursday or Friday. Can you make tomato wine?

The seeds have to dry pretty well or I have read they will mold in your storage containers. I found they need a good 7 days to dry up.

I wanted to show you why tomato seeds need to be fermented to help ensure good germination. The tomato seeds are encased in a gel sac that inhibits growth. This is so the seeds don't germinate inside the tomato. Here are some good pictures that capture tomato gel sacs.

Tomato Seed Collecting and Gel Sacs: Gary Pilarchik

You can clearly see the seeds sitting in gel. They even have a green color around them in the above picture. That is the gel sac. And that is what fermentation removes. Notice the seeds on the cutting board. You can see them surrounded in the greenish gel. This variety is 'Black Plum'. I will be selling seeds next year. I hope!

Below is a 'Baxter Bush Cherry'. I cut away the outer layer and it reveals all the seeds in a gel sac. When I scoop these out with my fingers, they came out in a group. There is no greenish color like in the above picture. Different varieties of tomatoes look different but the seeds are clearly in a gel like sac.

Tomato Seed Gel Sacs/Fermentation: Gary Pilarchik

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