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Persimmon seeds forecast a snowy winter for Washington, D.C.

Persimmon seeds are forecasting a snowy winter for the Washington, D.C. area. (Kevin Ambrose)
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Start tuning up the snow blowers and preparing the snow shovels. Persimmon seeds are forecasting above average snowfall in the Washington, D.C. area.

Persimmons are a sweet fruit that many people mistake for tomatoes in the groceries. They are mostly grown in California for purchase in U.S. food markets, though the most widely cultivated species are native to Asia. However, there is one species — diospyros virginiana — which, if you didn’t guess by the name, is native to the eastern U.S.

According to weather folklore, the pattern inside persimmon seeds can give you a good idea of what the upcoming winter will be like. The folklore says that a spoon pattern inside the seeds indicates there will be lots of snow to shovel, a fork pattern inside the seeds indicates the winter will be mild with good eating, and a knife pattern inside the seeds indicates the winter will be cold with cutting winds.

A sample of  seeds from locally grown persimmons clearly shows the spoon pattern this year.  Spoon patterns are appearing in persimmon seeds in other areas of the United States too.

Move over woolly worms, persimmon seeds can handle long-range winter forecasts going forward.  Of course, stay tuned for our CWG long range winter outlook that will be released later this fall.

I found an old persimmon tree growing in the woods near Dumfries, Virginia.  The tree was loaded with over 100 persimmons.  I collected a small bag of ripe persimmons and began the tedious task of slicing open the seeds.

I quickly noticed persimmon seeds are slimy and slippery and it’s a dangerous endeavor to use fingers to hold the seeds while slicing.  I chose a pair of pliers and a serrated knife for the job.

I carefully sawed through about a dozen seeds.  Most of the seeds showed a spoon pattern but I did find one knife pattern and one seed had a pattern that resembled a combination of a fork and spoon.

With spoon patterns outnumbering knife and fork patterns, it was easy to conclude that the persimmon seeds were forecasting a snowy winter for our area.

Out of curiosity, I purchased persimmons at Whole Foods and Safeway to check out how they compared to the local persimmons.  The grocery store persimmons were from California and they were seedless.  Thus, we cannot forecast California’s winter weather, at least with the persimmons that I purchased.

As a side note, the California persimmons are very good to eat.  They are larger and firmer than the persimmons I picked in Dumfries but they tasted the same.  And there were no seeds to remove.  I am a big fan of persimmons.

Because I was left with a lot of ripe persimmons from my forecasting effort, I decided to make a persimmon berry pie, a family favorite.  Well, it’s actually my own creation, but it is a family favorite.  I’ll share the recipe at the bottom of this post.

To conclude, this was one of the best tasting forecasting efforts that I have ever done.  Even if the “snowy” part doesn’t pan out, at least I was left with some yummy pies.  But I am hoping for the snow.

Persimmon Berry Blend Pie Recipe

Step 1: Mix one cup of diced, ripe persimmons with three cups of berries.  For berries, I use the Dole berry blend mixture (frozen) found at grocery stores.  The berry blend has blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and dark cherries.  Any berries should work well.

Step 2: Add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of flour to the persimmons and berries and mix well.  If you like a very sweet pie, use 1/2 cup sugar.  Optional:  Mix in a tsp of vanilla extract and a tsp of cinnamon.

Step 3: Spread the persimmon and berry mixture on the bottom pie crust.  Cover with the top pie crust.  I use the Pillsbury pie crust that is found in the refrigerated section of grocery stores because I’m too lazy to make pie crust from scratch.

Step 4: Moisten the top of the pie with water or milk and apply a generous coating of sugar (or sugar-in-the-raw).  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Make slices in the top pie crust to vent the pie.

Step 5: Bake the pie for 40-45 minutes at 425 degrees.  You may need to cover the outer edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil the last 15 or 20 minutes of baking to prevent the edges of the pie from over cooking.

Cool for 45 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream or your favorite topping.