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Cape Central High Photos

Ken Steinhoff, Cape Girardeau Central High School Class of 1965, was a photographer for The Tiger and The Girardot, and was on the staff of The Capaha Arrow and The Sagamore at Southeast Missouri State University. He worked as a photographer / reporter (among other things) at The Jackson Pioneer and The Southeast Missourian.

Come here to see photos and read stories (mostly true) about coming of age in Southeast Missouri in the 1960s.

Please comment on the articles when you see I have left out a bit of history, forgotten a name or when your memory of a circumstance conflicts with mine. (My mother says her stories have improved now that more and more of the folks who could contradict her have died off.) Your information helps to make this a wonderful archive and may end up in book form.


Good Persimmon Season

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014We made a swing by Trail of Tears State Park to check the status of a persimmon tree next to the lake. That baby was so full of fruit the branches were pulling down. One of the dark orange ones came off the branch easily, but it was still firm enough that I wouldn’t risk biting into it.

A few have started falling

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014I picked up several persimmons that had fallen on the ground, looking for ones that had that “squishy” feel that indicates they might be pucker-proof. Mother is the persimmon expert, so I let her have her pick. She rejected the one plucked from the tree as being “green,” despite its orange color. She tossed out two that were soft, but had worm holes. The last she pronounced as good-tasting but hot from the afternoon sun.

Here’s what the tree looked like last year when the leaves were gone.

Waiting for the first frost

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014Tradition has it that persimmons aren’t good until after the first frost, but we’ve had ripe persimmons in late summer off a tree at Tower Rock, and the one today was sweet. I think the “first frost” rule has more to do with how long the fruit ripens rather than anything the frost has to do with it.

Speaking of tradition, have you ever used the seed to predict what kind of winter you’re going to have? If you cut the seed in half and see a fork, it is said the winter will be mild; a spoon means lots of snow, and a knife means it will be bitterly cold.

Seeds cut by the Farmers’ Almanac’s Persimmon Lady, who lives in North Carolina, came up all spoons this year. She makes it clear that the forecast is only good for the immediate area, but comments from other parts of the country sound like you should make sure you know where your snow shovel is.

I haven’t checked any Cape persimmon seeds. I value my fingertips too much to try to split the seeds, and Mother faints at the sight of blood.

Cape Rock tree is loaded, too

Persimmons - Trail of Tears 09-27-2014There’s a tree next to the railroad tracks in the parking area below Cape Rock that is loaded, but the persimmons are marble-sized, less than a third or half the size of the ones at Trail of Tears. What few persimmons have fallen were small and hard, so we couldn’t do a taste test on them.

4 comments to Good Persimmon Season

  • cecilia sinnwell

    Our persimmons in Texas are ripe now, but ours don’t need the freeze and they are purple.
    I made a cake with them.
    Ceci

  • Dennis Hente

    Ken, I was told by the Park Superintendant that removimg any nuts or fruits from state park property is ileagle.
    Best check on this before you pick up any of the YUMMY fruit.

    • I was afraid the persimmon police might be coming after us, but I looked up the appropriate rules and found under 10 SCR 90-2.040 Park Property paragraph 4:

      “… Persons may collect for personal consumption within the state park or historic site small quantities of wild edible fruit, berries, seeds, and nuts (excluding below-ground plant parts) in quantities not to exceed a one-gallon container.”

      The superintendent must have been referring to another part of paragraph 4 where it says that it “shall not be transported outside the state park or historic site.”

      Bottom line: you’re OK eating what you find, you just can’t harvest it and take it out of the park.

  • Bill Stone

    We have two persimmon trees on our property. The persimmons seem to be smaller this year. A couple of years the larger tree had a broken branch. I was told that was from raccoons breaking branches to get to the fruit.
    Years ago while in college, I was given a glass of persimmon wine which goes to prove you can make wine out of anything.

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