After your tomato plants have had their growth spurt and flower, they will begin to produce fruit. But when should you pick your tomatoes, how should you store them and how can you save tomato seeds for the next gardening season?
When to pick tomatoes. To get the best flavor out of your the tomatoes, from your kitchen garden let them ripen on the vine. Once they begin to turn pink, cut the whole vine off and let the tomatoes continue to ripen on the vine. This saves the tomato plant some energy and will maximize your tomato production. The less this garden plant has to work on ripening tomatoes, the more it can work on making more tomatoes!
How to store tomatoes. Conventionally, people bring their fruits and vegetables home, and toss them in their refrigerator’s crisper. For tomatoes, you can keep them on your counter for about a week. Keep them in the fridge if you can’t eat them in that time, but the fridge will quickly make the tomatoes go mushy. You can also freeze tomatoes for up to eight months.
If you have a green tomato come off the vine, ripen it off the vine inside of a paper bag on the kitchen counter.
How to harvest tomato seeds. To harvest your tomato seeds so you can plant them in your kitchen garden next year, choose the largest, best-looking tomatoes. When you cut them open to eat them, scoop out the seeds. Some tomatoes will have tiny white spots inside of them. These are undeveloped seeds and should not be used.
To easily dry the tomato seeds, pick up a single seed and gently rub it on a paper towel. This will rub off the clear, jellylike coating. Place the tomato seed onto a plate to dry. After a couple of days, the seeds will be completely dry. Place them in Ziploc bags and into a cool, dry place for storage until the next gardening season!