Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

True Potato Fruit; How to Extract the Seeds

Back in July I posted about discovering true potato fruit in our garden (click on the link to see the post).  It is uncommon to get potato fruit, and we were thrilled with the fact that our first garden produced them!  This is photos of the potato flower and fruit from back in July.

I also posted about our potato harvest (click on the link to see the post) a couple weeks ago, but I had to wait for the fruit to dry before I could harvest the seeds.

What is so great about true potato fruit and seeds?  This is the real potato, not necessarily the same genetic makeup as the potato it came from, but the original start to the line of potatoes it fruited from. As I mentioned, it is unusual to get potato fruit, so we are thrilled with both the fact that it happened and the opportunity to see what these seeds will turn into!

Extracting the seeds is a tedious process, but not difficult; another labor of love:)  The first step of harvesting the seeds is to dry the fruit, which have been on the window sill for about a month, and now look like this. 
Don't leave them too long, or else they will turn into raisin-like things that have no seeds inside that can be saved...fortunately I only had 1 of the fruit dry like this:)

You need a strainer/sifter with very small holes, a knife, a spoon (I like using white plastic because you can see the seeds very easily), a small plate, paper towel and eventually a zip lock baggie.  

Cut the fruit in half...
...beautiful, isn't it?  Looks a little like a tomato...did you know they (potatoes and tomatoes) are in the same family?!  Smells like kiwi, at least to me, strongly acidic.

Place them all into the strainer...
 ...and squeeze all the pulp out, it will be a little slimy and sticky so be sure you keep your hand over the strainer; every now and then you can rinse with water.

Once you have squeezed the pulp out of all the fruit, begin rinsing with hot water, as hot as you can stand.  Very hot water is required to remove all the slime (which contains an enzyme that keeps the seeds from germinating, so if you don't remove it all, the seeds will likely never germinate) from around the seeds.

Once you are sure you have removed all the seeds from the fruit body, separate them.  I do this by keeping the water running, and individually squeeze each fruit.
 Now run the hot water and wash the slime away.  Sounds easy enough, but this slime does not want to let go of these lovely teeny tiny seeds, so you have to be persistent.  I pool a little water at the bottom of the strainer, let the seeds settle to the bottom and then pull the floating slime off the top (thankfully, it floats once detached from the seed)
Scoop the clean seeds from the strainer and put them onto a plate with a paper towel on top to absorb the water.
 Eventually you end up with this, a plate of teeny tiny little seeds of who knows what kind of potato, but I can't wait to find out!

Once the seeds dry, place them into a zip lock baggie for storage.  These seeds are from the first potato fruit I "processed" so I could make sure I knew what I was doing.   

I can't wait to plant these seeds next spring and watch what they turn into.  You can be sure I will tell you all about it!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Dad/Pepere said...

Sounds almost like "artificial insemination" to me! Hugs!

Powell River Books said...

I just discovered your blog. It sounds like you like to experiment with gardening like I do. My garden is quite small, four 4x10 raised beds on a cedar log float. It's the only way I can get any "land" since we live in a float cabin on a lake in BC. I'll be excited to see what happens with your potato seeds. I grow potatoes in barrels with enough for us to enjoy through the winter. - Margy

Lise said...

Funny dad!

Margy, your garden and home sound fascinating! I'll be looking into how you grow potatoes in barrels! Welcome to Lise's Log Cabin Life:)

Viv Sluys said...

Hi! I was just searching for potato seed info online and came across this post. How did your potatoes turn out? Did you get producing potato plants from them?

Lise said...

Hi Viv, unfortunately, they didn't produce, but that was my own fault. I didn't start them soon enough and it was too warm for them to germinate. But we did discover three potato plants in this year's garden that we believe came from the seeds, so that's some success. There were good eating red potatoes.