Peter Piper Picked How Many Pickled Peppers, Exactly?

The nursery rhyme claims that Peter Piper plucked a bunch of pickled peppers. A peck is a unit of dry volume measurement. Peter chose 8 quarts of peppers since one peck is equivalent to 8 dry quarts or 16 dry pints.

A popular Mother Goose nursery rhyme and tongue twister is “Peter Piper.” John Harris’ book “Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation” included “Peter Piper” for the first time in 1813.

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers; a peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked” is the whole tongue twister. Where is the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper supposedly chose if he indeed chose a peck?

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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