The polar vortex in the United States has caused a number of weird and wonderful occurrences with its icy conditions.
One farm manager had the surprise of his life when he spotted a rare phenomenon called “ghost apples” while pruning some apples in his Michigan orchard.
While tending to an apple plant, Andrew Sistema was shocked to find a hollow icy shell in the shape of an apple.
“When I pruned the tree it would be shaken in the process, and the mush would slip out of the bottom of the ‘ghost apple’.
Andrew explained that it was a special find, as most apples fall off while still encased in the ice.
“Most apples just fell off, ice and all. But quite a few would leave a cool ‘ghost apple’ behind,” he told Bored Panda.
It had to be at just the right temperature for the icy shell to remain!
“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),” he added.
And apples in particular are prone to the phenomenon over other fruit and veg, Andrew said, because they usually last into the colder months and aren’t harvested.
“You could only find them on other fruits and vegetables if they remained unharvested and persisted into the winter. Most crops do not.”
They are the perfect fruit! And apparently it’s a good thing just the icy shell remained after the chilly polar vortex, because the insides would be rotten, anyway.
Once below -18°C (0°F), the fruit’s structure would collapse.
“Besides being somewhat mummified, they could also be rotten.
“[If so,] they maintain their form, but their substance gets closer to applesauce,” a retired fruit and vegetable horticulturist from the University of Illinois, William Shoemaker, told Forbes.
And their acidic makeup means even the polar vortex isn’t cold enough to solidify apples.
If you have any apples in your backyard, keep an eye out!
And if you have seen “ghost apples” before, let us know in the comments!
Credit: Bored Panda