Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Homestead Experiment #12-Preserving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Mornin' All!

As I write this, we are experiencing a good old autumn storm typical of Southeast Alaska. This includes gusts of 50-60 miles an hour (not too terrible) and pelting rain. As I mentioned on a recent facebook post, we don't seem to lose our leaves in a gentle, falling motion here. They are driven off the trees sideways! However, in spite of the torrential chaos raging outside, I have Spring on my mind, especially concerning the garden. Now I've pretty much put my raised beds to sleep for the winter (with the exception of it's 'blanket' which I will post about soon-weather permitting) and since we're transferring next summer, I probably won't plant again here, BUT seed packets are small and lightweight, so I can always take them with me, right?

My friend called me awhile back to let me know that our local Safeway store had gotten in a shipment of heirloom tomatoes. With our cold climate up here, we can't really grow tomatoes without a green house, but I never know which zone I'll be gardening in from year to year. So, I went ahead and purchased two green heirlooms and one regular red organic (just for variety) and pulled up a video tutorial from one of my favorite websites, Homestead Acres. You can view the video here:


Have you ever been to this site before? If not, it is truly a treasure trove of great information! I found it when looking for a how-to for seasoning my cast iron collection. I've also learned about kerosene lamps, canning recipes, gardening ideas, etc. It is one of my all time favorite sites. This family is great-and I love their Canadian accent ;)

Anyway, back to the tomatoes! Here's mine:

Ready to go!

As instructed by the lovely, mysterious Homestead Acres Hostess, I squished the slimy pulp of each into a mason jar and covered with a coffee filter and rubber band.
If you happen to have any papercuts on your fingers, do NOT forget to put a bandage or rubber gloves on. Can we say 'acid burn'?? Yeah, I got reminded of mine the hard way. Ouch!!

Oh the carnage!

They remind me of little old ladies with bonnets on!

Then I just left them alone and let them sit for about a week. I eagerly checked them for a nice layer of mold and was so excited when I saw a little fungal lid appear over the top. Hooray! (Yeah, us homesteaders are wacko. You have to be to get giggly over mold!)

Exciting in a yucky sorta way!

Then I rinsed and strained, strained and rinsed. It took me a few minutes for just a little bit of tomatoes as compared to what she had in the video. I could see where that part gets a bit tedious, but still worth it.

Then I placed them on labeled coffee filters and let them sit, again. This time they hung out on the kitchen counter for a couple of weeks. I will make a confession here; I never got around to changing out the filter after the first couple of days like she recommends. Oops! But, they seemed to do okay in spite of it, and when I finally got around to checking them again, they looked like pretty little seeds that were ready to plant.

I taped them up into 2 envelopes, labeled them, and packed them away for future planting. Now I guess I can't really rate whether or not this experiment was a success until I see if they yield fruit. So, in that regard, it's kind of anti-climatic . But for now, I guess I can rate the actual process a success. It went along just as the video explained. Thank you Homestead Acres!

No comments:

Post a Comment