According to popular folklore, a persimmon can predict winter weather. How do you make a persimmon forecast? It’s easy. Just split open a seed of a locally grown fruit and look at the pattern inside.
If you see a fork, winter will be mild. A shovel (or spoon shape)? It will be snowy. A knife means winter will be harsh and cut like one! (See our illustration below.)
Every year, the Farmers’ Almanac speaks with an expert to give readers an authentic prediction of the weather ahead. Here are a few of our past persimmon winter weather forecasts for your consideration and enjoyment.
The Persimmon Lady’s Winter Weather Forecast 2022-23
Melissa Bunker AKA “The Persimmon Lady” has been reading persimmons and making predictions for the Farmers’ Almanac for the last few years. Bear in mind that her results are relative to North Carolina, where she is based. Her results are in!
This year, she opened ten persimmons and only found one seed. This one seed had quite a large shovel shape inside, which calls for a snowy winter. Watch the video below to see what it looks like!
Persimmon Seed Winter Forecast 2021-22
Can you predict the weather with persimmon seeds? According to folklore, yes! The Persimmon Lady’s annual winter forecast revealed!
It’s that time of year again when we check in with Melissa Bunker—a.k.a. “The Persimmon Lady”—of central North Carolina, who sends us her winter predictions based on the persimmon seeds she opens from her locally grown persimmon fruit.
What Is A Persimmon?
A persimmon is a soft, edible fruit (provided you bite into one that is lush and ripe, otherwise, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise) that looks similar to an orange-colored tomato. It can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. Persimmons make delicious jams, pies, steamed puddings, breads and cakes, stuffing, curry, and cookies. They are also delicious when sliced and served fresh in green salads with watercress and nuts. And they’re loaded with nutrition.
Persimmon Seeds in Folklore
But persimmons also have an uncanny ability to predict the weather! The seeds, that is. According to folklore, if you crack open a persimmon seed from a ripe, locally grown fruit and look at the shape inside (called a cotyledon), it can forecast the winter weather for the area in which it was grown:
Fork shape = winter will be mild;
Spoon shape = there will be a lot of snow;
Knife shape = winter will be bitingly cold that “cuts like a knife.”
The Persimmon Lady’s 2021-22 Winter Forecast
In order to read the seeds, Melissa cracks open 10 seeds from ripe fruit and reveals what’s inside, in order. She read this year’s seeds on September 20, 2021. So what do they say about the upcoming winter? Here’s what the seeds revealed:
This year’s seeds (2021-22) revealed the following: all forks and 1 knife. Translation: a mild winter with an ice event for North Carolina.
Revealed: Watch The Persimmon Lady’s 2021-22 Forecast Unfold
Watch Melissa Bunker, The Persimmon Lady, and her helper crack into the persimmon seeds to reveal this year’s forecast!
Persimmon Winter Forecast 2019-20
This was an interesting year, we had to wait quite a while for the Persimmon Lady’s fruit to ripen as the prior year Melissa Bunker— a.k.a., “The Persimmon Lady”—of central North Carolina, had her persimmon trees destroyed by Hurricane Florence. She planted new trees and while the fruits were slow to ripen, the forecast finally arrived!
Here’s what Melissa, the Persimmon Lady, found:
“The reading was finally ready. It looks like a nice mild start to winter. However, it won’t last long. The fruit dropped really early and the seeds didn’t have time to mature for a reading. That means winter will come quick.
The heavily red fruit shows me there’s lots of sugars for the wildlife so that portents a hard winter.
This year’s seeds (2019-20) revealed the following: 3 forks, 3 spoons, and 2 knives. Translation: a mild start to winter followed closely by lots of precipitation (rain and snow) and a few ice events late winter.“
Persimmon Winter Weather Forecast 2018-19
This year was a bit of a challenge, thanks to Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina on September 14. Melissa’s family and her persimmon tree were right in its path. This week, she shared with us her harrowing story of salvaging the fruits and getting a persimmon seed forecast for us:
The Persimmon Lady’s Story from Hurricane Florence
We lost power for a little while but were lucky. We did have flooding inside our home! This was a constant battle for two days, but we’re nice and dry now! We were luckier than most.
Prior to the storm, I kept an eye on my persimmon tree watching the fruit. They came early this year, so I should have taken the hint that something large was coming, but between family life and other things, I got pretty busy. Most of the persimmons remained green right as the storm hit. After the storm (the tree was still standing), I looked at the fruit and saw they were peachy orange in color, with ripe ones at the top. Because the tree was too large to shake them down, I decided to wait. That evening, the soggy ground released the roots and down she came. The next morning during the intermittent rain, I saw my beloved tree laying in the mud and its unripe fruits scattered. I left my tree and allowed the dead limbs to ripen the fruit. This morning I gathered as many as I could.
My beautiful persimmon tree, sadly, is gone. It served me well. It was heartbreaking to see it laying there but I will be saving some seeds and starting them in the spring to begin a new persimmon grove.
The 2018 Persimmon Seed Forecast
So what did the seeds say? According to folklore, if you crack open a persimmon seed from a ripe fruit and the shape inside (called a cotyledon) looks like a fork, winter will be mild; if you see a spoon, there will be a lot of snow, and if there is a knife, winter will be bitingly cold and “cut like a knife.”
Here’s what Melissa found:
I opened up not my normal five fruits (containing 3-4 readable seeds each) but a grand total of 26 fruits, for a total of over 100 seeds altogether. Out of this total, I only found two forks. The remaining seeds were all spoons. No knives. This will be a winter for the record books in central North Carolina!
I have never seen this in all of my years. I’ve heard of similar stories from my grandfather. One story happened in 1962, where the seeds read all spoons and the precipitation was almost constant and continued until May of 1963. In 1985, when I was only 5 years old, it happened again. At the time, I was mostly excited to be getting some snow days from school, but my grandfather’s ominous look sobered my childish dreams of lazing around, and we began furiously canning and preparing the freezers for what was coming.
This is Melissa’s 10th year reading the seeds. While her beloved tree is gone, she tells us she can hike into the mountains to gather fruit until her new tree bears fruit. We look forward to the reading next year.
Forks, Knives, Spoons – What Do They Look Like?
Below is a graphic from The Persimmon Lady detailing what each of the shapes look like: