A Bit of Apple Trivia

The following bit of interesting apple trivia comes from the July 12, 2004 issue of the "Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable IPM News":

Where the Heck Did “Peck” Come From?*

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Did Peter Piper pick a peck of pickled peppers?

If Peter Piper Picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

So maybe you are one of the few elite members of society who happen to know that a peck is a unit of dry volume that, according to the U.S. Customary System, amounts to roughly eight quarts, ten to twelve pounds or-if you want to get technical-537.6 cubic inches. But do you know where the word peck came from?

According to some, the true origin is mysterious. However, one source suggests a possible link between peck (Middle English, circa 1280 AD) with the French word picot; it also hints that the original “sense” of the word developed from the act of picking rather than from a standard measure of quantity (Etymology Online).

Occasionally, standards of measure make their way into history books. During the end of China’s Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220) a Taoist movement called Five Pecks of Rice was founded and fueled by an early Taoist patriarch, Zhang Daoling. Considered by many to be a healer, the name of the movement came from the amount of rice his clients paid him for his services (Encyclopedia Brittanica).

*Material compiled by MDA Biological Control Program



1 pound = 3 medium apples = 2 cups sliced

3 pounds = 8-9 medium apples = one 9 inch pie

1 peck = 10-12 pounds = 32 medium apples = 3-4 nine-inch pies

= 7-9 quarts frozen = 4 quarts canned

1 bushel = 48 pounds = 126 medium apples = 15 nine-inch pies

= 30-36 pints frozen = 16-19 quarts canned

Reprinted with permission from Michigan State University Extension Preserving Food Safely 01600351