How Many Pounds Are in a Peck of Apples?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:31:01 PM ET
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[S. Hermann & F. Richter/Pixabay]

Apples are a delicious and versatile fruit. You can weigh apples in the same ways that we measure any number of other solid items—in ounces and pounds—but you can also measure the volume of apples in a unit of measure called a peck. A peck is equal to 10-12 pounds of apples, or 32 medium-sized apples.

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What Else Does A Peck of Apples Equal?

A peck of apples isn’t just equivalent to 10-12 pounds of apples. You can translate a peck into apples in other forms. With a peck of apples, you can make three or four 9-inch apple pies. If you cut up a peck of apples to freeze, you’ll get seven to nine quarts, and if you can apples, a peck will give you four quarts. 


The next unit of measurement above a peck is a bushel, which equals four pecks. A peck equals 40-48 pounds of apples, or roughly 128 medium apples. A bushel of apples gives you 30-36 quarts of frozen apples or 16-20 quarts of canned apples. You can make around 15 apple pies with a bushel of apples, as well.


American Apple Production


In 2018, the United States produced 272.7 million bushels of apples, which adds up to 1.09 billion pecks, and comes close to the record crop of 1998, which totaled 277.3 million bushels. Over 2,500 of the 7,500 varieties of apples in the world grow in the United States. Thirty-six states have commercial apple crops, although all 50 states can grow apples. The average size of an apple orchard in the United States is 50 acres. 


The United States is the second-largest producer of apples in the world, behind China. The American apple industry generates $3.6 billion a year, and the industry continues to grow. Washington produces the most apples of any state in the country by far, with 171 million bushels in 2018, followed by New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and California. 


A History of Apples


Surprisingly, apples aren’t native to the United States. In fact, the crabapple is the only apple native to North America. Apples originated in an area of the Middle East between the Caspian and Black Seas. Greeks and Romans enjoyed apples, and archaeologists have found remnants of charred apples in prehistoric homes in Switzerland. Apples arrived in Great Britain via the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the English brought them to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries.


Records of the first apple orchards in the United States exist at Jamestown, and apple production expanded across the continent as American settlers spread westward. Growers in the state of Washington discovered the secret of industrial farming in the late 19th century, and that state took off as the leading producer of American apples. The United States led the world in apple production until around 1992, when China took over. The dawn of the 21st century has seen the rebound of the American apple industry, and although Washington state apples continued to remain popular, the apple industry as a whole dipped in the United States.


The Surprisingly True Legend of Johnny Appleseed


Most of us grew up hearing the story of Johnny Appleseed, the legendary figure who spread the good news of delicious apple growing across the newly formed United States. The interesting thing is that the story has a basis in truth. Johnny Appleseed was, in fact, a man named John Chapman, who actually went across the country planting apple trees. Chapman was born in Massachusetts in 1774, the son of a man who fought in the Revolutionary War. He was a mystic and itinerant adventurer who planted cider apple trees across the northeast and midwest until his death in 1845. Even though the cider apples he planted were only good for making cider rather than for eating, his tree-planting adventures convinced farmers that they could cultivate crops of apples.


Apples from Sweet to Tart


Apples come in a wide variety of flavors, and whether you enjoy sweet or tart fruit, you’re sure to find an apple that fits your taste buds. Both sweet and tart apples are great for eating by themselves, but some are better than others in recipes. A mix of both sweet and tart apples in pies and other recipes can create vibrant flavors. Kiku and Fuji apples are among the sweetest varieties, while Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples are the most tart. The most popular apple varieties in the United States, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious, fall in the middle of the flavor scale.