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Freezing rain creates unusual phenomena: 'ghost apples'

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 2/8/2019 David matthews
a bird sitting on a tree branch © Andrew Sietsema/Facebook

While pruning apple trees on Wednesday, a Michigan man noticed an unusual formation on a branch: a ‘ghost apple.’

Andrew Sietsema quickly snapped a few photos and deduced what had happened: freezing rain had coated rotting apples, encasing the fetid fruit.

As Sietsema pruned the trees, most of the frozen apples fell to the floor. However, in some instances, only the mushed up apple bits fell, leaving the icy shell on the branch, and making for one heck of a photo op.

Sietsema even went so far as to coin a second name for his discovery, “Jonaghosts,” after his favorite variety of apples, the jonagold.

Sietsema also elaborated that this was a perfect confluence of events.

“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 explained to the Daily News.

If you’re interested in checking out ghost apples yourself, Sietsema speculates that he’s “sure you could find them at any orchard in the Ridge area (near Sparta, Mich.), or at least any that still had a few unpicked apples hanging on the trees.”

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