Saving tomato seeds, making tomato powder & stroll through the patch..

Posted May 5th, 2013 by Rob Bob : )»

Saving tomato seeds...
Thanks to the cooler weather & dwindling fruit fly numbers we are coming into our best tomato growing time of the year.. I have been caught by surprise with the only plants ready to go out being some gifted tigerella tomato seedlings.. The only fruiting plants we have are a few volunteer yellow cherry plants growing wild in the patch & the KY1 bush tomatoes that are about to be pulled out.. I am going to sneak in some late starts so decided to save some seeds from the KY1 tomatoes this week.. I am saving the seeds using 2 different methods this time..

The first method I used was to ferment the gel from the seeds.. It is a very easy method that some people swear by as it helps to remove the gel coating from the seeds that contain the germination inhibitors.. It is as easy as adding the seeds to a jar with a few cm of water to cover them..
The seeds are then left for 2-4 days (can be up to a week when it's cooler) so the fermentation process can "dissolve" the gel that surrounds the seeds.. You can normally tell they are ready by a small growth of mould on top of the water &/or a funky fermenting smell.. The contents of the jar are then washed in a sieve under a tap until only the clean seeds were left.. They are then left on some baking paper to dry, then packed up & stored in a cool dark dry place until they are needed.. This method does leave you with a very clean looking seed & is the preferred one used by a few of the more experienced seeds sharers I have spoken to..

The second way I used was to remove the seeds from the fruit, wash off/remove any flesh & leave them to dry on some baking paper..
Another variation of this method is to let the seeds dry out on some paper towel.. Once the seeds are dry you can cut up the towel with a few seeds on each, which makes them a bit easier to sow out when the time comes, & store them in a cool dark dry place until they are needed.. While this method leaves the germination inhibitors around the seeds, I have never had a problem growing plants from seeds saved this way.. I will be doing a germination test between the 2 different saving techniques as well as planting out some seeds squeezed straight from some fruit just to see if there is much of a difference.. Once I have the results I will show the results in a follow up post..

Tomato powder...
I have been really interested in trying to make or own tomato powder after seeing it on a few websites.. It is a great way to store tomatoes that doesn't take up much space at all & really isn't that difficult to do..
The first step is to dehydrate some tomatoes.. For this we have been using the KY1 tomatoes that we have been harvesting over the past few weeks.. These tomatoes are a sweet fleshy variety that are full of flavour.. They are a determinant variety which means that these plants will normally grow 1-2 flushes of fruit before the plant dies.. This also means that the plant provides you with a load of ripe fruit all at once which is great if you want to preserve them..
The first step in the process is to slice up the tomatoes about 1cm thick, evenly space them on the tray & fire up the dehydrator..
This being our first batch of dehydrated tomatoes I was quite surprised about how much weight was dried out of these fruit.. I didn't weigh them before adding the into the machine but I would think it would of been over 2kg..
The dried weight of all those tomatoes was only 98g which just goes to show how much water is locked up in them..

The next step is to add the dried tomato pieces into a food processor/blender & process until the dried pieces are turned into a powder..

It is then stored in an airtight container until needed..
When it comes time to make up your tomato sauce or paste all you need to do is add some to hot water, stir & let it sit until the water has been absorbed into the tomato..
It will slowly thicken further if heat is added..
I am thinking of taking advantage of any cheap tasty tomatoes I can find to make up some more as I think this will be the best way to store tomatoes for later use..

Stroll through the patch...
Took a stroll through the patch with the camera the other day to show how things have been progressing..

Must say I am mighty impressed with the way the brassicas have been growing..

Happy Harvest...
Have taken off what I think is the last of the yellow 7 chillies as well as the last lot of KY1 tomatoes.. I think there are a few green tomatoes left on the plants but as they are dying off slowly I might just pull the plants & make way for some seedlings..
Think we might be coming to the end of our okra harvests so have been including them in as many meals as we can.. I didn't manage to save any in the freezer but I will be trying to nurse a few plants through Winter, so we might be lucky enough to get a small harvest every now & then..
Have been harvesting loads of salad greens & herbs this week.. The kale has been a great addition to the salads as has the Egyptian spinach since it has bounced back..
Was very brave & let our eldest have control of the first kohlrabi for the season.. She made up a great tossed salad with the veggies in the photo with only 3 ring ins, a carrot, ½ a capsicum & a red onion.. Was a most impressive salad & I think that she will have to make up the ginger chilli marinade she made for the steak again as well.. Really think she is getting the knack of matching flavours down nicely..

Started to harvest the turmeric in the barrel this week.. Still not too sure what type it is so have been asking around a bit looking for clues.. Am still yet to ask a few Filipino friends as they have been busy this week..
I made a short YouTube clip to ask if anyone knew but still don't have an answer unfortunately..

Well that's it for this weekend.. Hope you all get a chance to get out into the garden & get some dirt under your nails...
Have a great one all..

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