How to Save Seeds (From Tomatoes, Peppers, Peas and Beans)

If you want to save seeds from vegetables that you have grown on your own, you are not alone. Saving seeds is about to enjoy a revival as more and more people realize that growing their own vegetables is the most natural way to eat healthy and actually having your own seeds is empowering and rewarding. Growing your own vegetables is also about food security and a healthy lifestyle. Something that you can enjoy with your partner and children.

Beginners Guide to Saving Seeds From Tomatoes, Peppers, Peas and Beans

Self-pollinating Plants

Some of the easiest seeds to save and store are those from self-pollinating plants. These include tomatoes, peppers or even peas and beans. These vegetables have flowers that self-pollinate and their seeds only need to be dried in order to store and save them.

Harvesting The Seeds

The most important part to pay attention to when you want to save your seeds for next year is the harvesting process. It is not difficult, but it is important, so pay attention to get it right.

Harvesting Tomato Seeds

Saving Tomato Seeds

The most popular seeds to save are tomato seeds. In order to harvest tomato seeds you need to pick and choose a fully ripe tomato. Cut it open and push out the seeds. Place them with their gel in a glass jar with added water. Stir this mixture two times a day for five days. You will then notice that the mixture has fermented and the seeds have sunk to the bottom of your glass jar. Get rid of the excess liquid and rinse the seeds in a sieve, then place them on paper towels or kitchen roll to dry.

Harvesting Pepper Seeds

Saving Pepper Seeds

With pepper seeds the process is similar but it is recommended to leave the fruit on the plant until it is so ripe that it begins to wrinkle itself. You can then harvest the pepper, cut it open and simply remove the seeds from inside. Lay them out to dry on kitchen roll or paper towels.

Pepper Cut Open

Harvesting Seeds from Peas and Beans

Harvesting Seeds from Peas

In order to save the seeds from peas and beans you need to let the pods ripen on the plant until they dry; even turning brown. More or less four weeks after you would normally pick them. When they are ready you will be able to hear the seeds rattle inside. You can then pick them and lay them out to dry inside your home. Make sure you give them enough time to dry well (about two weeks).

Saving Seeds and Storing Them

The best way to store your seeds is undoubtedly in sealed glass jars. You can also store the seeds in small paper bags or paper envelopes and put them together in a bigger glass jar. Always make sure the seeds are stored in a dry and cool place. If you want to make sure your seeds stay dry, you can also place a small amount of silica-gel to each container, which will help absorb any excess moisture and help keep your seeds dry. You can also use a spoon or two of dried milk or raw rice for this, if you want to keep it natural.

How Long can Saved Seeds be Stored For?

You might wonder if seeds expire. Although this is not the case, the older the seeds, the lower their germination and strength. So usually seeds you save at home, should be reused within a few years. If you freeze seeds, these can even still be used decades later.

Don’t forget to label your seeds so you know when you harvested them and what seeds they are. Write the harvest date, seed type and estimated date for ideal use on each packet.