"Glass apples" which you can see through
September 18, 2020 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Someone in Scandinavia told me in their childhood, they search for "glass apples" in orchards. These were very occasionally underripe apples, translucent in such a way that if you held one up to the sun, you could still see (most of) the sun through it. Hence the name or phrase "glass apple". I can't find any online reference, but that's possibly as no matter how I search I get a million results consisting of glassware shaped like apples. Does such a thing, or concept, exist - and even better are there any online references to more information? Thanks.
posted by Wordshore to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is it possible they were thinking of "ghost apples" which are made of ice?
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:10 AM on September 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Is it possible they were thinking of "ghost apples" which are made of ice?

No - though I can see why - found these earlier in the year but the "glass apples" were edible and actual apples.
posted by Wordshore at 8:13 AM on September 18, 2020

Best answer: Two possibilities I can think of:

1) there is a variety that is sometimes called the "glass apple" in Europe.

2) there is a condition called "water core" that makes apples somewhat translucent.
posted by aramaic at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2020 [11 favorites]

When I was a teen, we went to a camp with school where we had to go to work at farms. At the farm I went to with three friends, we had to pick up the "glass apples" from the orchard. These were not exactly unripe, but apples that had fallen off the branch a bit earlier than the picking season because of high wind. I think they had to be removed before the main picking. The bruises made them translucent. I don't remember what the farmer used them for, and we didn't eat them as found, but I think it was for human consumption rather than pig food. Maybe making jelly? Maybe we had to do some prep-work too, but I don't remember, and while I still see my friends, I know from countless other conversations that they hardly remember we were out on that farm. There was a lot of more interesting stuff going on (Boys! Music! The Ocean!). This was in the North-West of Denmark, Thy.
posted by mumimor at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Here's a photo of what looks like the right thing?

"Picked the basket full of glass apples out in the rain, gets like sun in the kitchen 🌧🍏☀️ 🍍Dried ones taste like pineapple I think, although the rest of the family does not agree but we agree that it is super tasty!"
posted by corvine at 8:45 AM on September 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I didn't think of googling first, because of my very vivid memory of fruit picking, but it seems there is a variety called glasæbler from that same region. Maybe we misunderstood the farmer completely and he was trying to proudly teach us about a local specialty. I think it is related to (or perhaps the same as) the apple Aramaic linked to.
posted by mumimor at 8:45 AM on September 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: And here (translated) - Astrakhan apples?
posted by corvine at 8:51 AM on September 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here is two links in Swedish about "glasäpple", Glass apples: Äpplen som glasar, https://www.alltomtradgard.se/kokstradgard/frukt-och-bar/glasapple/.

It seems like sometimes for some types of apples the cells break and the juice flow out and make the meat of the apple translucent.
posted by rpn at 9:24 AM on September 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

I've seen this phenomenon with my apples this year. The growing season has been long, the apples are huge (but still not sweet) and the weather has frequently swung from cool to hot. A few of the apples have developed areas where the cell walls look to have broken down, much like the ones shown in aramaic's second link. After a while the affected flesh turns from translucent-looking to bruised-looking, and the apple falls from the tree. They are still (briefly) edible, but you couldn't keep them for any length of time.
posted by pipeski at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

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