Tomatillos, also known as husk tomatoes, are a type of small tomato-like fruit native to Mexico and Central America. The tomatillo is often used in sauces, salsas, and other dishes. It’s an important crop for many home gardeners who wish to have their own supply of fruits for culinary use.
When to Harvest Tomatillo Seeds
Tomatillo fruits are ready to harvest usually around 75 days after transplanting. The tomatillo husks may turn brown and start to crack open when they are ready to harvest, but if you aren’t sure, then it never hurts to wait a few extra days for maximum ripeness. It is important to use seeds that are mature for the best storage.
How to Harvest Tomatillo Seeds
- To harvest the seeds, you will need to remove the husks from the tomatillos and slice them in half. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon or fork into a bowl. Don’t worry too much about getting every single seed – some of them may not be mature enough for good storage and germination.
- After you have collected the seeds, pulse them in a food processor or blender with some water to create a slurry. The mixture should be slightly thick but still pourable. This helps separate the viable seeds from non-viable material and debris.
- Once you have a slurry, add more water and stir it together. The mixture should be thin enough that the viable seeds settle into the bottom of the bowl. As they settle, use a spoon or other similar utensil to gently scoop out any debris floating at the top.
- Once the seeds have settled, strain out the liquid and transfer them to a clean surface. Spread them out so they can dry. If you plan on storing the seeds for an extended period of time, it is important that they are completely dry before storage.
Things You Will Need
- Food processor
- Spare plate
- Paper towel
Saving Tomatoes Seeds
After the seeds have had a chance to dry, it is time to store them. The best way to store tomato and tomatillo seeds is in an airtight container or bag. Choose a vessel that can provide a protective barrier against moisture, oxygen, and light for long-term storage. Store the seeds at room temperature between 50°F – 54°F and relative air humidity from 50 to 60%. This temperature range is optimal for preserving the viability of the seeds. Be sure to label all containers with the species, variety, and date of harvest so that you can easily identify them in the future. Seeds stored under these conditions should remain viable for up to two years.