How to Seed Tomatoes
Removing the seeds from tomatoes can serve a number of purposes. For instance, you may want to remove them to make a smoother soup or sauce, though keep in mind you're losing some of the major flavor of the tomato in the gel and seeds.You may also want to remove them to make a finely diced tomato. Another option is to remove them to save the seeds to plant next year. Whatever reason you have, you can use a number of methods to remove the seeds, depending on what you want to do with the tomato.
Seeding Tomatoes While Retaining the Most Flesh
Cut the tomato in half.On a cutting board, turn the tomato sideways, so that the top is facing to the right or left. Cut down the middle of the tomato towards the board. If you think of the tomato as the Earth with the North Pole being the top of the tomato, you'll be cutting through the Equator.
Open up the tomato.Place the tomato cut-side up on the cutting board. You should be able to see that the tomato is basically divided into four even sections with seeds and gel in between each section. You're trying to keep the flesh that's dividing up the seeds.
Scoop out the seeds.Find a small spoon, such as a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon. It should be smaller than a regular spoon. Scoop out the seeds, being gentle with the flesh. If you want, you can place the seeds in a strainer over a bowl to drain out the juice for later use.
- The nice part about this method is you can now stuff the tomato halves with something, such as goat cheese.
Using the Squeezing Method
Slice the tomato in half.Like the previous method, you start by turning the tomato on its side. Your cutting the tomato in half, but through the side rather than down the top. You'll end up with the top of the tomato being one half and the bottom of the tomato being the other half.
Open the tomato up.Once again, you need to pull the tomato apart to reveal the center and the seeds. While you'll see a division among the seeds, you probably won't be able to keep as much of the flesh with this method. However, it's a quick method to remove seeds.
Squeeze the tomatoes.Over a strainer and a bowl, squeeze the seeds out of the tomato. Simply hold the tomato with the skin in your hand and the cut side over the bowl. As you squeeze, you'll release much of the seeds in the middle. You may smash the tomatoes up a bit with this method, so if you want a pretty presentation, try another method.
Using a Knife or Spoon to Remove Seeds
Cut the tomato up.Start by cutting the tomato into quarters. Start from the top, slicing down towards the bottom. You'll end up with two haves. Slice each half into two pieces. Now you have quarters of the tomato that you can easily remove the seeds from.
Cut the bit of flesh at the top of each tomato.The seeds are held on to the top of the tomato by a bit of flesh. You can slice through it, going down towards the bottom. It only takes a little cut to get through it, but be careful of your fingers when cutting it. Use a tiny knife or spoon for this purpose.
Slice or scoop the seeds away.Now that the flesh is cut, you can simply remove the seeds. Run a knife under them, or use a spoon to scoop them out. You can place them in a strainer over a bowl, so that you can retain the juices for another part of the recipe.
Peeling and Seeding Tomatoes With Heat
Bring a pot of water to boil.The easiest way to peel a tomato is to blanch it, which just means it spends a short time in boiling water. If you're peeling and seeding your tomatoes, you need to remove the skins before you remove the seeds so you don't make a mess and lose half the tomato.
Blanch the tomatoes.Start by making an "X" on the bottom with the knife. Then, you can either add the tomatoes to the pot or pour boiling water over the tomatoes in a heat-safe boil.If you add the tomatoes to the pot, use a slotted spoon to add them in so you don't splash hot water. Once they have been in there for 15 to 30 seconds, move them out.
- Work in small batches, as you want to get them out of the water quickly.
- You'll know the tomatoes are ready to come out because the skins will start to wrinkle.
Place them in a bowl of ice water.Once the tomatoes come out of the boiling water, they need to immediately go in a bowl of ice water. The ice water stops the cooking process, so you end up with tomatoes that are easy to peel but that haven't been cooked yet.
Peel off the skin.Once the tomatoes have cooled (it shouldn't take very long), pull them out of the water one-by-one, peeling them as you go. Since they've been blanched, all you'll really need is your fingers to pull off the peel.It should come right off. If it doesn't, you need to blanch the tomato a bit longer.
Pull out the seeds.Cut into the top of the tomato. You can simply use your fingers for this process, though you may also use a spoon. Scrap out the seeds and gel part of the tomato. If you're making a sauce, scrap the seeds into a strainer over the bowl. That way, you can use the juice in your sauce.
Saving Seeds for Planting
Remove the seeds from the gel.The gel can harbor bacteria when you're trying to save tomato seeds. Therefore, it's best remove the seeds from the gel before saving the seeds. The easiest way is to pick the seed out of the gel with the tip of a butter knife before moving on to drying.
- Another option is allowing the seeds to ferment. Basically, you just let the seeds sit on the counter somewhere in their own juices for a day or so. Place them in a strainer, and the gel should wash off. You may need to rinse them more than once. Don't save any seeds that float.
- The fermentation method will generally allow you to keep seeds longer, up to 5 years, but you can use the knife method to keep seeds for a year or two.
Spread the seeds out to dry.Leave the seeds on a paper plate, part of a paper towel, or a coffee filter. They need to be spaced an inch or two apart. In fact, you can even plant the paper towels or coffee filters next spring, as they are biodegradable.
- It's best to only use the paper plate for the fermentation method, as then the seeds don't need as much help drying.
Let them dry.The seeds can take up to a week or two to dry. They should be crackly when the are dry. That is, if you try to fold one, it should crack not bend. Make sure they aren't in the sun. Just keep them in a corner of your house at room temperature.
- If your area is particularly humid, it may take them longer to dry.
Save them for later.Once the seeds are dry, you can place them in an airtight container or even an envelope. If you used coffee filters or paper towels, just fold them up with the seeds, and put them in the container. With the paper plates, you can dump the seeds into the container. Make sure to label it with the tomato variety and the date of when you saved them seeds.
- Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
QuestionIf I want to plant tomatoes, is it okay to just bury the entire tomato?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but most likely your yields won't be as good because the seeds won't be properly spaced out. As the plants grow, they will become crowded, so you'll need to relocate them if you want them to live.Thanks!
QuestionCan tomatoes be planted year round or are they seasonal?Community AnswerTomatoes need be planted in December or January if you plant the seeds. Keep them inside or they will freeze! If you buy the plant, you should plant it in February. Once again, be very cautious, as they may freeze.Thanks!
To see your tomatoes while retaining most of the flesh, start by cutting your tomato in half. Then, scoop out the seeds with a small spoon, such as a ¼ tsp measuring spoon. If you don’t need to keep as much of the flesh, try squeezing out the tomato halves over a strainer and a bowl. Next, use the tip of a butter knife to scrape the seeds from the gel. Finally, spread the seeds out on a paper plate or paper towel to dry for 1 to 2 weeks.
Video: Step by Step: Growing Tomatoes from Seed
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