When you visit an orchard or a farmer's market, you may have the opportunity to buy a bushel of produce? But just how much will you get, if you decide to go big and buy a bushel? Here's the answer.
What a Bushel Measures
In the United States, a bushel is equal to eight gallons of a dry product (by volume, not weight). So, picture the space that eight gallons of milk takes up. It's a substantial unit of measure, but one you could probably carry for a short distance. For most people, a bushel is probably about the biggest load you would want to carry without assistance. But if you're looking for precise equivalents, here's a look at the most common conversions:
- 1 bushel is equal to 8 gallons
- 1 bushel is equal to 32 quarts
- 1 bushel is equal 35.2 liters
- 1 bushel is equal to 64 pints
- 1 bushel is equal to 4 pecks
- 1 bushel is equal to 0.3048 barrels
- 1 bushel is equal to 2150.42 cubic inches
The imperial bushel, used in the United Kingdom, is similar, but it's based on imperial gallons and imperial pecks, and unlike the U.S. bushel, it can be used to measure dry or liquid products. It's equal to eight imperial gallons, four imperial pecks or 36.37 liters. This makes it slightly larger than a U.S. bushel, since it comes in at 8.25 U.S. gallons.
Bushels as a Weight Measure
Because people can have varying ideas about how much a full bushel basket should hold, the government established standard bushel weights for each type of fruit, vegetable, nut and grain. A bushel of tomatoes, for example, is supposed to weigh 56 pounds, as is a bushel of shelled corn. But if the corn is still in ears, a bushel is supposed to weigh a whopping 70 pounds! Leaves and greens take up more space with less weight, so a bushel of spinach is only 20 pounds.
To view a list of the standard bushel weights, see Standard Weight Per Bushel for Agricultural Commodities. Grains are sold on commodity markets in units of bushels, which are standardized by weight according to these policies.
What Can You Make With a Bushel of Apples or Peaches?
In your daily life, you're most likely to encounter bushels as a measurement of bulky fruit, such as apples and peaches. If you refer to the federal weight standards, a bushel of apples should weigh 47 pounds. So, you definitely won't want to carry a bushel of apples very far! If you're going to be buying foods by the bushel, be sure you have a way to get your purchase home.
A bushel of apples typically holds about 125 medium apples. That's enough to make 15 (or more) quarts of applesauce or around 15 apple pies. If you eat one apple a day, a bushel will last you for three months.
A bushel of peaches is defined as 50 pounds in Georgia. According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, a bushel yields around 20 quarts of canned peaches.
Be sure to take these quantities into consideration, when determining whether buying foods by the bushel makes sense for you and your family. You'll need to carve out time to process all of that food, or be prepared to eat it before it goes bad.
If a bushel is starting to sound like more than you can handle, consider purchasing a peck instead. That's a quarter of what you'd get in a bushel, so it's a much more manageable amount, and you'll still probably save money over the per-piece price.
Fruits and Vegetables that Keep for a Long Time
If you plan to stock up on fruits and veggies while they're in season, look for varieties that are known to have a long storage life. Here are some to consider:
Want to Buy Berries in Bulk?
Piling up enough soft berries, like strawberries and blueberries, to fill a bushel basket would just result in a big squished mess of fruit, so berries are sold in flats, instead. Here's the scoop on how much a flat holds.