, Newburyport, MA


August 21, 2013

Plan now for great-tasting tomatoes next year


But there’s no need to forsake the best tomatoes just because you can’t put a name on them. Many great-tasting tomatoes are nonhybrid, or heirloom, varieties. That means you can easily save the seeds.

Seeds from hybrid tomatoes also often yield plants with good-tasting fruits — sometimes even fruits identical to those from the mother plant — if they were called “hybrid” by seed sellers merely to discourage seed saving.

Saving tomato seeds entails nothing much more than squeezing a bit of the seed-gel mix out of the cavity of a tomato fruit into a glass. That gel contains inhibitors that keep the seeds from sprouting while still inside the fruit. Leach and ferment those inhibitors away by adding some water to the seed-gel mix. After letting the slurry sit for a day or so, pour it through a fine strainer, wash the seeds well in running water, and spread them out to dry. Now you’re all set for good eating next year.

By the way, the tomato seeds I’m squirreling away now are from the heirloom varieties Gardener’s Delight, Belgian Giant, Amish Paste and Anna Russian, as well as the hybrid Sungold and two unnamed varieties passed down to me from a couple of local gardeners.

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