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Seed harvesting 101 – fruit and vegetables

Summer is finally here and it is accompanied by an immense variety of fruit and vegetables. In fact, it is one of the best times of the year to teach your kids to harvest seed from what they eat.

As we go along explaining how to do so, we will use the term fruit in the strict botanical sense. That is to say, we will refer to fruit as we know it (apples, lemons, melons, etc.) as well as to vegetables that contain seeds. There are quite a few of these, and they are very common. From cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes to zucchini, eggplant and avocado – just to name a few.

The process of harvesting seeds from fruit is quite straightforward. Not to mention it is tasty and fun!

  1. When you are ready to eat your favorite summer fruit, simply slice it open lengthwise. Take a minute to marvel at how many seeds it contains (except if you’re eating an avocado, that is!). Some will be lodged in the center of the fruit, some inside its top.
  2. Dislodge as many seeds as you can, then rinse them delicately with warm water. This will help the protective, slippery substance that envelopes them to come off.
  3. Let them air dry on a paper towel.
  4. Once dry, gather two seeds of each fruit for immediate replanting. Store the rest in a clean, dry glass jar. Set the jar in a dark place, like a cupboard. Their shelf life is quite long.
  5. Identify where to replant. It can be anywhere – from a biodegradable egg carton, to a pot, to small patch of land. If you choose a container, make sure it has holes on the bottom to allow water drainage.
  6. When you are ready to plant, read this post for the correct method and timing.

The seed harvest will be abundant, so your kids will want to share these tiny marvels with their friends. They could do so by:

  • Dividing the seeds by fruit and making one envelope for each fruit.  They can then fill it with its respective seeds and distribute to whomever they choose.
  • Organizing a “harvest your seeds” day and having friends over to go through the tasty harvesting process together.
  • Participating in a seed exchange day at your local farmer’s market. This is an entertaining way to learn about new seeds and make new friends.

As you see, there are so many simple, but important, ways to make goodness go around. Teach your kids how to be part of the cycle. They will treasure this forever!

Michelle Calcatelli

Michelle Calcatelli

Planter-in-Chief
Hi there! My name is Michelle. I'm an American living in Italy, mom of two girls, a lover of travel, music and good food shared with loved ones. I am a freelance grant writer and a former agricultural development practitioner, having worked mostly in rural Africa for 18 years. I look forward to creating a space here - with your help - where we can exchange dreams, ideas and kindness to start shaping a better tomorrow.

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