An apple a day
February 8, 2019 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Freezing rain will turn anything it touches into a glaze of pure ice. In this case, unpicked old apples. The Great Cold Snap of 2019 has given us terms we didn't know we needed: Frost quakes. Snow squalls. Steam fog. Now we can add another one to the list: ghost apples. Surely there's a joke here about poison apples and glass houses...
posted by wicked_sassy (19 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Normally the ice protects the fruit, but not when it's that cold! Nice.
posted by Melismata at 1:23 PM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Beautiful! Living somewhere that routinely gets temps below -20 C in the winter has given me the opportunity to see some gorgeous examples of what ice can do, but I've never seen anything like that. Thank you for posting this.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:32 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hm. Perhaps, "Unearthed old terms we'd forgotten we needed"? (Checks Ngrams) Well, Ngrams says steam fog has existed as a term since the 1940s, the others it draws a blank on. Which makes sense - I remember an AP photo in the 80s of steam fog in Duluth. But even the others sound old timey to me.
posted by aurelian at 1:38 PM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

Each of those grants +5 mana regeneration for 10 seconds on consumption
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 1:58 PM on February 8, 2019 [15 favorites]

Each of those grants +5 mana regeneration for 10 seconds on consumption

But you're cursed for life. Kind of like becoming a vampire in Skyrim.
posted by Fizz at 2:13 PM on February 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

Partake not of the ghost apples!

Because they're frozen solid. And they'll be all gross and mealy when they thaw out.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:34 PM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I feel like the photography here is not doing these ghost apples justice, tbh. Glaze ice is incredibly beautiful, especially if you are lucky enough to see it on a sunny day. It's also incredibly treacherous; I've crossed many a river where almost all the boulders were dry except for one which had somehow become coated in a 2mm thick coat of crystal clear glaze ice. Don't step on that one!
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:51 PM on February 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

I don't see much fruit remnant inside those, and the one in the last picture doesn't seem to have any.

Is that just a trick of refraction/reflection?
posted by jamjam at 3:47 PM on February 8, 2019

Ice apples are apple-free. They are the shells of ice that were partially around an apple, that apple's stem, and the branch the apple formerly hung from. The apple fell off the tree, but the ice didn't. So there is no fruit remnant, there is no frozen apple inside, and you might or might not end up cursed for life.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 4:00 PM on February 8, 2019 [7 favorites]

Fun and lovely, thank you :)
posted by eggkeeper at 4:31 PM on February 8, 2019

They explain in the article:
I guess it was just cold enough that the ice covering the apple hadn't melted yet, but it was warm enough that the apple inside turned to complete mush (apples have a lower freezing point than water)," Sietsema told CNN.
"And when I pruned a tree it would be shaken in the process, and the mush would slip out of the bottom of the 'ghost apple.'

posted by Glinn at 4:42 PM on February 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

I love this, but I am still perplexed how the inside could be so clean. I would expect some residue. Anyway, Nature is surprising.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:48 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'd guess that the skin stayed intact as the insides mushed, so it deformed and fell out in one piece. Also they probably took pictures of the prettiest ones, not the ones where there is a big lump of rotting apple stuck inside.
posted by tavella at 5:54 PM on February 8, 2019 [7 favorites]

I just like saying "Partake not of the ghost apples!"

Also- partake not of the werewolf peaches!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:12 PM on February 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

Makes me think of some odd icicles I saw a few days ago, coming out of a hole in a tree trunk and a deep amber color. I call them sapcicles.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:26 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I just heard the term "ghost apples" on the radio today, so I guess it's no surprise that these photos were taken 10 miles from me. And yeah, we had a bit of an ice storm earlier this week. My car had a 1/8" coating of ice when I left for work and it only continued to build all day.
posted by LionIndex at 6:56 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I suppose you can't get ghost road apples via this kind of mechanism, unless you foresightfully hang some up on wires before the storm.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 8:13 PM on February 8, 2019

Just had to google image this as CNN was being a dick on mobile. Apparently there's also another kind of ghost apple, a variety that is completely chalk-white. I wonder how they taste. Also there was a picture of some Halloween hot apple cider in a pot with a bunch of peeled apples carved with spooky faces that was very cool.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:34 PM on February 8, 2019

I've had a ghost apple! (The all white kind, not the obviously cursed ice shell kind.) I make a point of trying unusual fruits whenever I see them and I couldn't pass up a white apple. It wasn't my favorite by far, a bit mealy and bland with a strong sour pinch and a slow rising sweetness that didn't quite get up there. I suspect that it wasn't fully ripe. But I have very high standards for weird apples since I live in washington state and have so much choice here. It was better than a granny smith!

Here is my ice story: One time when I was a teenager in Virginia it had blizzarded and iced for a good month and then suddenly gotten warm enough to melt the top layer of all the high snowbanks a good inch and then it snap froze again. At which point, my buddy Jeff finally backed his car out of the snowbank it had been half buried under for weeks. The vibrations and movement of the car shook the snow away enough to display the perfect shell of the front nose of his crappy car in glittering ice, sticking out of the driveway. Like, all along the wheels and up to the windshield, like half a car ghost captured in time. Then the next day once he'd shoveled out the driveway, he smashed into it with said car to get out.
posted by Mizu at 12:22 AM on February 9, 2019 [7 favorites]

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