SPARTA, Mich. — The Great Cold Snap of 2019 has given us a ton of terms we didn’t know we needed: Frost quakes. Snow squalls. Steam fog.
Now we can add another one to the list: ghost apples.
Andrew Sietsema was pruning apple trees in an icy orchard in western Michigan when he came across some.
“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.'”
Western Michigan has gone through a roller coaster of weather this month.
“From the icy grip of the Arctic outbreak, to above average temperatures this week, which then lead to a day of freezing rain instead of the snow western Michigan is accustomed to,” CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said.
“Freezing rain will turn anything it touches into a glaze of pure ice. In this case, unpicked old apples.”
You could probably find a lot of ghost apples right now in any orchard in what’s known as the Ridge, a region near Sparta, Michigan, known for apple production.
“Most apples just fell off, ice and all. But quite a few would leave a cool “ghost apple” behind,” Sietsema said.
“Jonagolds are one of my favorite apple varieties, but we’ll call these ‘Jonaghosts.'”