How to Save Tomato Seed

Drying tomato seed

Having your own little seed bank is solid. 

Be fussy about the seed you save, choosing tomatoes that are

  • pest and disease resilient
  • vigorous, unfussy growers
  • delicious!

Left to their own device, tomatoes eventually drop to the ground where they rot and ferment, cleaning up seed borne disease in the process.

There are 3 main ways to save tomato seed.

  1. Ferment it first, then rinse and dry it.
  2. The plain old wash and dry.
  3. Squeeze the seed straight onto paper towels to dry.

I like to ferment mine – I enjoy the process!

Pick a big, healthy tomato from strong plant. Cut it in half and squeeze the seeds and pulp into a labelled jar. Be sure to get the big fat seeds in the middle!

Add water until the pulp and seeds are just covered and give it a good stir. Rest the lid on (don’t do it up) so gas can escape.

fermentng tomato seed

Sit the jar in a warm place like the top of your fridge or a windowsill and give it a daily shake up. In 2 – 5 days time (depending on how warm it is) your seedy brew will be bubbly/ foamy and smell tangy – it’s ready to clean.

Tip it all into a sieve, rinsing with water and rubbing with your fingers until all the goo has gone then tip onto a teatowel and pat dry.

Lay on a plate (still with the label if you are saving more than one variety) and every now and then shuffle the seed about to stop it sticking together.

When it’s bone dry (in a week or two) store in a clean, dry labelled jar.

seed bank

There, your very own seed. Resilient, and big time special.


  1. Elle Murray says

    I’m new to the area and still working out what will grow here. Want to learn about seed saving and grow heritage veges. I love a cottage style garden with veges and flowers together.