Persimmon seeds predicting the winter season
If you're wondering what type of winter we're going to have, the answer may be revealed through the old folklore of persimmons.
Thursday, October 23rd 2014, 6:34 PM EDT
Thursday, October 23rd 2014, 7:19 PM EDT
It's old folklore that you can predict the weather with a persimmon seed, but first you have to understand the meaning of the kernel inside the fruit.
A variety of persimmon, just a bit smaller than a golf ball, is native to the eastern U.S. Once ripe, it's sweet and has the texture of a date.
Ivana Patterson, Master Gardner in north Georgia, sings its praises.
"A lot of people do not realize how great it can be," exclaims Patterson. "It adds a lot of nutrition to your diet. It's an unsung hero in the fruit industry."
It's not only nutritious and delicious, but it's seeds have been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years to predict upcoming winters.
While some hold the Farmers Almanac close to their hearts, native Americans and subsequent settlers could only rely on signs in nature when planning how to survive the season. Some signs included how certain insects were behaving, like the earthworm or wooly worm. Other methods involved fruit.
"Throughout history, before we had technology and the industrial revolution, this is how the farmers and the people predicted," explains Patterson.
The insides of the seeds tell the forecast.
If you see a spoon shape this means a snowy winter is ahead. A fork-like pattern indicates a mild winter, while a knife shape means a cold, windy winter is coming.
It's hard to find distinct patterns right now because in our region most persimmons won't ripen until almost early November, but it's another way people can try to do their own forecast when the time comes.
Patterson says it's not all folklore, but rather a marriage of old school techniques and science through the ages, resulting in a pretty good track record.
"They found out, in an unusual way, of what works and what doesn't work and how to read the signs," adds Patterson.
Based on conversations she's had with people who visit her farm, she says even today many are interested.
"People are wanting to get back to nature," says Patterson. "They're wanting to learn."