THE ART OF PREDICTING WEATHER
-WITH FRUIT !
PERSIMMON SEEDS PREDICT THE WEATHER
It has been a snowy, icy, week here in Alabama. But not unexpected. Back in the fall, the persimmons predicted all of it! American Persimmons have seeds and if you carefully split those open, they predict the weather for the upcoming winter.
I had never seen or eaten a persimmon before coming to the ranch. I had only heard the name before when I was a girl. My grandfather would play a song on his guitar “Bile ‘em Cabbage Down” while my older sister and me would sing-along. I have to be honest, I still have no idea what the lyrics mean but it was one of my favorite memories of time spent with my grandfather.
Persimmons are small orange fruits of different sizes depending on the variety. Ours are about the size of large cherry tomatoes. Larger persimmons grow on Japanese varieties and can be found in grocery stores in the fall. If you eat one too soon or if it is still firm when you squeeze it, you may never try one again. It has a bitter taste, but worse, it does something to the inside of your mouth that I can’t completely put into words. It not only dries out your mouth, but is also has something in it that coats your teeth, mouth, and tongue to the point that you can not even slide your tongue across your teeth. It goes away within a few minutes, but it is not a pleasant feeling. <br data-rich-text-line-break="true" style="box-sizing: inherit;"><br data-rich-text-line-break="true" style="box-sizing: inherit;">Contrast that with getting one when it is ripe and the difference is like night and day. It is worth the risk of biting into a non-ripe one every now and then. It is like you are TASTING fall. It has a sweet butternut rum flavor. It reminds me of the old fashioned hard butterscotch candies. Delicious!
American Persimmon trees grow wild in the USDA Zones 4-9, and while they are more widespread than the Japanese persimmons, they are not sought after for their fruit. The Japanese varieties grow in zones 7-9. While the Japanese persimmons cannot be used to predict weather because they do not have seeds, their fruit is larger and sweeter. Our trees though, they grow out on the side of a hill in pasture 7. In the middle of a small pine thicket. Think of the place where Ferdinand the bull liked to hang out and smell flowers and you can imagine perfectly how ours are situated out on the property.
However, you are lucky if you get a handful of these little delights throughout the season. There is a lot of competition for them out there. The cows, deer, skunks, armadillo and coyotes eat the ones that fall to the ground. The birds and squirrel get the ones on the limbs.
Fork shape means that the winter will be mild -it actually looks more a spork.
Spoon means that there will be a lot of snow.
Knife shape means that winter will be bitingly cold that "cuts like a knife".
I opened over 5 persimmon seeds last fall and found spoons in all of them. My mother in Campbellsville, KY, did the same and also found spoons in hers. I recently looked up what other have reported on the internet and all reported spoons in 2020. All have had more snow this winter than they have had in previous years. The Old Farmer’s Almanac gives good information about this and all kinds of other interesting things in nature. They also remind you to find locally grown persimmons because they reflect local conditions.
So our snowy winter here in Alabama continues. The snow changing the look of the landscape and the ice transforming ordinary blades of grass into a sculpture garden to walk through and admire. There is so much to appreciate about nature. But for now, throw another log on the fire and settle in. More snow predicted for this weekend.
If you do not have not persimmon trees to help you know if you will need a heavy or light coat for the winter, no worries! Just find yourself a woolly bear caterpillar!