At the end of September, purplish-orange persimmons ripen and drop from the branches of their knobby-barked trees. Here are a few ways to partake in — that’s a fancy word for “experience” — this yummy fall fruit.
Persimmon trees grow in fencerows and woods throughout Missouri. New trees grow from the roots of older trees, so where you find one persimmon, you’ll usually find several. The brownish-black bark has deep grooves that form chunky, rectangular blocks. Some people think the bark looks like an alligator’s back. When you find a tree with knobby bark, look up.
If you see orange, golf-ball-sized fruits hanging from the branches, you’ve found a persimmon.
Persimmons taste yummy — if they’re ripe. If they aren’t, one bite will make your mouth pucker like you drank a whole jar of pickle juice. When a persimmon is slightly squishy, it’s ready to eat.
Some people claim you can forecast winter’s weather by splitting open a persimmon seed. The white embryo inside — the part that would grow into a new tree — will be shaped like a spoon, fork, or knife.
Use these pictures to decipher your persimmon’s forecast.
A spoon — like a tiny snow shovel — predicts lots of snow.
A fork forecasts a pleasant, mild winter. Sorry, no snow days.
A knife predicts frigid winds that will cut through your coat like a blade.
Persimmon seeds fresh out of the fruit are as slippery as buttered bullfrogs. Trying to cut one with a knife is a good way to slice your finger. To keep your pointers intact, use a pair of pliers to hold the seed while you slice it longways.
For a quick, yummy dessert, make this persimmon parfait from Cooking Wild in Missouri by Bernadette Dryden.
Angie Daly Morfeld
Nichole LeClair Terrill