Outkast said "You can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather," but clearly Outkast isn't from the Midwest because we have lots of ways to predict the weather - especially when it comes to the colder months.

Winter is Coming

For now, the days are still warm but there is a crisp, coolness to the air in the morning and evening hours. It is that time of year when here in the Midwest we start bracing for the inevitable cold that will wash over us as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. It is also the time of year when all of the cold-weather predictions start to roll in.

Having grown up in a small rural farming community, I learned about all kinds of ways to predict the weather. Whether it was rings around the moon, a red sky, or wooly worms, it seems my elders growing up knew just how to predict what to expect from Mother Nature.

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Persimmons Predict the Weather

One of the most talked about predictors for winter was always the persimmon seeds. If you're unfamiliar, a persimmon is a type of fruit that grows across parts of the United States. It bears a sweet, orange fruit, but it is the seeds of the persimmon that, when cut in half, can predict the weather.

It's What's on the Inside that Matters

When cutting a persimmon seed in half, it is what is on the inside that matters. According to the Old Farmers' Almanac, it is important to use a persimmon that has been grown locally.

A locally-grown persimmon is necessary because it will reflect local conditions - Old Farmers' Almanac

Once you cut into the fruit of the persimmon, you will want to locate the seed and cut it in half too. This is where the winter prediction will be revealed. Inside the seed, the kernel will have formed one of three shapes - one that looks like a spoon, one that looks like a fork, and one that looks like a knife.

Spoons, Forks, and Knives... Oh My!

According to my elders, and the Old Farmers' Almanac, if the kernel is shaped like a fork it will be a mild winter and any snow that falls will be dry and powdery. The knife means that the winter will be bitterly cold, the kind that will cut right through. If the kernel looks like a spoon, it means you should get your snow shovel ready and expect copious amounts of snow.

attachment-Lake Cumberland State Resort Park via Facebook
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park via Facebook

Local Persimmons Reporting for Duty

Recently, I spotted not one, but two Facebook posts about the results of cutting into persimmon seeds. One of those (pictured above) came from Lake Cumberland State Resort Park in Kentucky where they said,

Last year our persimmon prediction post reached 1.6 MILLION people! We have a large persimmon tree located in front of the lodge, and if you are familiar with old wives tales you know what this picture means!  The tales goes if you cut a persimmon seed in half you see a knife, fork, or spoon and it will predict how winter will go! Knife= Extreme Cold, Spoon= Heavy Snow, & Fork= Mild Winter We cut open three! Looks like we will be "spooning" snow out of our driveways this winter.

The other post that I spotted was shared by my Facebook friend Emily about the seeds that she collected in Evansville, Indiana. Emily said,

Hux and I took a walk to the persimmon tree. Spoons and a few knives in the seeds. I’ll take the snow

As you can see in her photo shared below with permission, Emily found mostly spoons too.

attachment-Emily Adams
Emily Adams

Will we be seeing a lot of snow for winter 2023-2024? It seems we certainly might. The Old Farmers' Almanac is also predicting a lot of snow and says we'll see a "winter wonderland." Regardless of the predictions, it is always a good idea to be prepared. Check out our list of ten essentials to keep in your car during the winter months.

10 Must-Have Items To Keep In Your Car This Winter Just In Case

You never know when you might find yourself stranded on the side of the road during the cold winter months, and these ten items could make all the difference. They might even save your life.
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KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...

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