What, you've never heard of an ice apple? And you've definitely never had one? Well, all I have to say is if you like apples and have never eaten one of these, you are missing out.
So what are they? Technically they are your basic Fuji apple, very sweet with good crunch. What makes these different is they are picked during the last days of October - the last of the season - and leaving them on the tree a little longer, allowing the center of the apples to crystallize a bit, leaving a pocket of juiciness in the center. This makes the entire apple just a bit sweeter.
I don't know if this is the same chemical process used to create "ice wine" (which I also love - coincidence?) when the grapes are left to freeze on the vine to focus the sweetness before fermentation. But to me - far from an expert in the growing of fruits and making of wine - it sounds like it could be similar; perhaps these ice apples are at a younger place in the process than the ice wine grapes.
You can read the entire "Legend of the Ice Apple" here on Al's Garden Center website.
Is that weird, reading it there? It is, but this is the only place I have ever seen these apples. We ran across them literally by accident a couple years ago. November isn't typically a month people go to a garden store, so I can't remember at all why were there - it possibly could have been their annual Christmas show, an evening in early November. No idea.
Anyway, they had these huge boxes of "ice apples" and they looked good - looked like Fujis, because, apparently, they are Fujis. We bought a few and tried them out the next day. And came back. And came back again. And again. Every time we thought they'd be gone, but they still had some. I think in the month they were in the store we went to buy more five times, and then when it looked like this might be the last time, we bought a huge bag to last us a couple more weeks.
We've looked all over, but as the link says, Al's is the only place you can find these. Technically these apples aren't anything special - they are Fujis that got left on the tree too long and the yumminess was found by accident. Any grower with Fuji trees should be able to try it out, I think, but so far they seem to come only from this specific farm in Wenatchee, WA and are only distributed through Al's.
So every November we head to Al's and stock up, because these are literally the best apples we've ever had.
Wait, why am I telling people about these?
Oh well, no one reads this blog anyway...right?