Sunday, August 31, 2014

Glorious Heirlooms

My tomatoes are coming in strongly.  I think, in another week, the harvest will be done for this year.  The other morning, with some of the Orange Banana paste tomatoes and Pink Brandywine round tomatoes, I made a batch of Bruschetta in a Jar.  It's a great recipe, found in the Ball Canning Book, and one of my favorite ways to use all kinds of tomatoes.  It calls for plum, but I find any tomato will work, particularly if you opt to scoop out the seeds before you chop them.

Since both these tomatoes did so well, I definitely saved seeds.  This will be the fourth year I've saved my Pink Brandywines, and the first for the Orange Banana.  They were a great find in the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog, and a definite keeper!  I've got two jars filled with tomato-seed goop, fermenting away.  With any luck, they'll yield a whole lot of viable seed for next year's crop plus some to share.
If you've never saved tomato seeds before, it is very easy.  You simply scoop out the seeds and the "gel" that surrounds them, and pop them into a clean jar.  I add a little amount of water, give them a stir, and then set them aside.  They'll ferment over a week or two, eventually growing moldy scum on top of the jar.  To harvest the seeds, you peel of the moldy bit, and then pull out any remaining debris in the top of the jar.  The seeds will have fallen to the bottom of the jar, so you simply tip them out into a fine sieve and rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse some more.  Once they are clean and free of any pulp, spread them onto a paper plate or a flattened coffee filter.  They should be left to dry for a month or two (they'll shatter when bent, when they are dry enough) and then store them in a jar or paper envelope in a cool dark spot.

A side note about saving tomato seeds:  this works best from heirloom varieties, that breed true.  You can save seeds from hybridized tomatoes, certainly, but the offspring (grown as next year's crop) may be nothing at all like the fruit you grew the summer before.  You never know what you might get: something great, or something horrible. I opt to grow heirloom tomato varieties in my garden, but as gardening is a lifestyle of infinite variety, you could try to save some hybrid seeds and maybe even discover a new favorite!

1 comment:

  1. I have been looking at their recipe for roasted red pepper spread. I just need more red peppers from the garden. Yum.


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