I’m Curious About Winter

As our nights become colder, I begin to wonder what kind of winter we will have this year.  I don’t have my almanac yet so I do the next best thing.  I go out and pick persimmons.

persimmon tree

????

The seeds of persimmon fruit have predicted weather for generations.

persimmon seeds

????

Really.

One might wonder, with all the current technology available, why I would use a persimmon seed to see what kind of winter we are going to have.

Well……..it’s tradition that’s why.

Every fall,  around the first of October in Arkansas, the fruit of our native persimmon tree becomes ripe.  One can tell if they are ripe by feeling the fruit (it must be very soft–almost mushy), tasting the fruit (should be sweet), or looking at the fruit (mine are dark orange/red).

ripe persimmons

When ripe, persimmons have a great flavor and are used in puddings, pies and breads.  Unfortunately, it takes a lot of persimmons to make this happen and I would rather not mess with it.  One persimmon only yields about 1 tsp. of pulp and most recipes call for 1-2 cups.  Needless to say, it takes quite a bit of fruit to make anything!

pulp from one persimmon

Just for kicks, try a “green” persimmon (one that is not fully ripe) at least once in your lifetime.  These can be found on the tree and will be firm and a very light orange.  Before you eat it though, be sure to have your sweetie close by because you will be puckering for several minutes after your first bite.  I can only describe it as a mix of extreme bitter and sourness and the taste will definitely stay with you a while.  My cheeks are drawing in just thinking about it.

Ok……back to the weather prediction.

Remove a seed from the persimmon.  There are usually 5 seeds per fruit.

Get a paper towel and rub off the pulpy layer around the seed.

Soak the seeds in very hot water for about an hour.  Stand the seed on its side (below, seed on left), and with a very sharp knife begin sawing the seed in half.  Be very careful!  Persimmon seeds are very thin and it’s easy to cut your finger.  You can cut until you saw it in half or, after it’s started, pop the seed in your mouth and gently bite.  The seed should pop in half.  Only do this if you have very strong teeth!  (the blonde gardener is not responsbile for breaking of teeth or fillings 🙂 )

persimmon seed

Once the seed is in half, look at the white kernel.

There will be one of the following:

1) a spoon (on top row)

photo from internet

2) a knife (on bottom row)

3) or a fork (this is the only fork picture I could find that looked different from the spoon)

photo from internet

A spoon indicates a snowy winter (the spoon represents a shovel).

A knife indicates an icy, cold winter (cuts through you like a knife).

And a fork indicates a mild winter.

In our area, everyone is reporting a spoon, but mine looks like the fork pictured above (although it doesn’t look like a real fork to me).

my persimmon seed 2012–fork or broken spoon?

Is this a fork? Spoon? Maybe a combo of both.  So, mild winter mixed with some snow?

Inquiring minds want to know.

About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
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22 Responses to I’m Curious About Winter

  1. We don’t have persimmons here in New England 😦 … that’s a really interesting tradition!

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  2. It looks more like a double spoon to me! Sounds like a massive winter snowstorm is heading your way. 🙂

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  3. Claudia says:

    Nice post – I had no idea – isn’t folklore fun? Thanks for the info.

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  4. Holleygarden says:

    Yes, it looks like the ‘spork’ that you get at KFC! 😉 And to me, it looks like the fork from the internet. I have never heard of the persimmon prediction. Fun! Interesting, too, that so many people get different results. Maybe persimmons have been listening to the weathermen on tv and don’t know what to expect, either! 🙂

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  5. We are calling it a ‘spork’, too! A typical Arkansas winter is 70F one day and snowing the next so spork would fit.

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  6. Peter says:

    You have lucky deer- persimmons are yummy! A spork winter for you then. My persimmon didn’t produce any fruit this year so maybe we aren’t going to get any winter at all.

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  7. southernheart1 says:

    Very interesting info regarding weather and persimmons. Many years ago there were wild persimmons growing everywhere here in South Mississippi-not so much now. And when I was a teenager, I took a bite of green persimmon on a dare from my cousins…I will never forget that awful sensation! ~ Marsha

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  8. Pingback: How does this happen? | The Blonde Gardener

  9. In Taiwan, the late harvest persimmon is very sweet, lots of people will dry them as tasty snack.

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  10. bittster says:

    Persimmons are one of those fruits that just seem so different, maybe because they’re not as common up north, but still cool. I didn’t know they were so useful on top of that!
    ….but seeing the amount of pulp which one fruit produces makes me think the deer would be welcome to mine too.

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