Save Your Seeds

Join the collaborative siteWARE:Chicago in a seed saving venture that harvests everyday potential and explores what we want and need from our surroundings. In this moment of food scrutiny, your seeds and thoughts are crucial for gathering a valuable database and inventory. There are several ways to join the project. [for more information click “Save Your Seeds” or at the page at top]


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We are doing our first growing tests.  Since we are harvesting from the consumer cycle rather than the growing cycle we had no idea if these seeds would sprout.  It is amazingly exciting to see these results.  While many of these plants may be hybrids and develop as different plants than their parents, in terms of harvesting bio-diversity from free and available resources, this is an interesting beginning.

CLICK THE IMAGES for a nice close up.

Test #1 Roma tomato harvested 9/24/08 an orgainc tomato from a local purchased through Fresh Picks. SPROUTED

Test #2 Unknown mellon harvested 1/19/08 from the SAIC courtyard. SPROUTED

Test #3 Yellow pepper harvested 10/3/08 organic from a local farm in Illinois SPROUTED

Test #4 Watermellon unknown origin SPROUTED

Test #5 Acorn Squash harvested 11/1/08 organic from a local farm purchased through Fresh Pick SPOUTED

Test #6 Sumac collected along Highway 74 in October HYDRATING

Test #7 Persimmon 12/22/08 purchased at a Chicago farmers market SWELLING BUT NO SPROUTING

Test #8 Butternut squash of unknown origin JUST SPROUTING

Test #9 Commercial Cantaloupe harvested 12/5/08 and purchased from Hyde Park Produce SWELLING

Test #10 So Sour Mellon from Stephanie commercial and grown in Mexico SPROUTING

Test #11 Papaya Harvested 12/5/08 and purchased from Hyde Park Produce HYDRATING

Test #12 Avacado Pit (dried) 11/5/08 organic from Whole Foods HYDRATING

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Habenero Pepper


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Butternut Squash

Date: 11/2
Common Name: Butternut squash
Location Grown: Illinois Farm
Obtained From: Fresh Picks delivery
Use: Baked to have ready for sandwich spread, soup stock, salad addition….

Butternut is one of my favorite squash. It is not pithy.  These three beauties have been in my kitchen for some time and I decided to bake them for easy use. Now I can scoop out the creamy orange flesh and add it to whatever I am cooking.

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organizing your seeds

I just received an inspiring picture from Solange, showing how the Rousset family in CA is keeping track of their seeds. Way to go! I never would have thought of grease pencils!

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Date: 10/16
Common Name: Date
Location Grown: Unknown
Obtained From: these dates were sent to me by my mom in CA
Use: dry and eat

These dates were still on their branch when they arrived at my door. Quite different than the version of date you get in plastic containers. At first I was confused and thought that they were yellow dates. Then I realized that they were just young. So, I set them out to dry.  In the picture you can see the many stages the date goes through before it gets to be eaten (as we normally enjoy them).

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pear abundance

Date: 10/15
Common Name: pear
Location Grown: Elmhurst, IL
Obtained From: driveway
Use: sliced and spiralized and dried for snacks and salads

Check out that pear tree! It is actually in our neighbor’s yard, but a quarter of the tree hangs over our driveway, so we get loads of pears just waiting for us to pick up! Dehydrating the pears have been wonderful, but if anybody has any other suggestions for pears that are lightly smashed on one side (from falling on the driveway) and slightly tough skinned, please let me know. I’d love to make more, it is always fun to share the abundance!

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Georgia Sweet Candy Roaster

Date: 10/14/08
Common Name: Georgia Sweet Candy Roaster
Location Grown: Wolfe Farms, Monticello, IL
Obtained From: Wolfe Farms
Use: As a tureen to bake chili

I had never seen this variety of squash. It looks like a huge torpedo and I assumed the taste would be mealy and dry. My experience with with large squash is overgrown zucchini and taste definitely does not improve with size for that variety.   No so with the Georgia Sweet.  The taste was close to a delicate pumpkin but without any of the stringiness.  The torpedo shape held its form better than a pumpkin and the skin was more delicate.  Basically, this squash beats pumpkins hands down.


  • Make your favorite chili
  • cut an opening in the top of the squash and scoop out seeds and and innards
  • place chili in squash and add “lid”
  • Bake at 350 for one hour or until warm and soft
  • Scoop flesh of Georgia Sweet with every scoop of chili


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