The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Folklore or forecast? Persimmons suggest a snowy winter in D.C.

Persimmon seeds are forecasting a snowy winter for the Washington area. (Kevin Ambrose)
Placeholder while article actions load

Lace up your boots, stock up on firewood and salt the driveways — persimmons are forecasting above-average snowfall this winter.

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

For the third year in a row, I picked persimmons from a tree near Dumfries, Va., to check our winter weather outlook.  I sliced open 12 seeds and found a spoon pattern in the majority of the seeds. According to the folklore, we have a snowy winter ahead. Let it snow!

Winter outlook debate: Forecasters weigh just how severe D.C.’s winter could be

D.C. has earned a reputation for freaking out about snow. But these five snowstorms proved to be worthy of the frenzy they caused. (Video: Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Persimmons are a sweet, orange fruit that many people mistake for tomatoes in the groceries. By and large they are grown in California for purchase in U.S. food markets, though the most widely cultivated species are native to Asia. There is one species — diospyros virginiana — which, if you didn’t guess by the name, is native to the eastern United States.

Last year I found a knife pattern in the persimmon seeds, and two years ago I found a spoon pattern. Last year was not particularly cold and windy, so the persimmon seed forecast was wrong. Two years ago, however, the winter was very snowy, even into March, so that persimmon seed forecast was correct.

Thus far, my persimmon seed winter forecasts are 50 percent accurate with n = 2, which is about as good as other long-range winter forecasts!

As with my past persimmon seed forecasts, I never waste the fruit when extracting the seeds.  I always cook up some kind of persimmon-related treat. A winter weather forecast never tasted so good.

Two years ago, I made a persimmon and berry pie. It was amazing! Last year, I made a persimmon and peach cobbler. It was okay, but I prefer plain peach cobbler.

This year, I made persimmon cookies and was surprised how well they turned out. They were delicious! I have included my persimmon cookie recipe below.

I froze two batches of persimmon cookies to thaw out later this winter, during those snowy days that will soon be here. Bring on the snow and persimmon cookies! I’m ready!

Grandma’s persimmon cookie recipe

1 cup persimmon pulp
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir in baking soda and vanilla with the persimmon pulp, set aside.
Mix flour, spices, and salt together in a separate bowl, set aside.
Whip butter and sugar on low speed until fluffy.
Whip the egg and persimmon pulp mixture into the butter and sugar.
Stir in dry ingredients.
Stir in nuts and raisins.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes.


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

Local persimmons, acorns, and hickory nuts are forecasting a harsh winter in D.C.