In the United Kingdom and Australia, 18th – 21st centuries, a small, typically square basket used for the sale of berries, and today for such items as mushrooms and snow peas. Originally these baskets were made of split wood; today they are more likely to be plastic. The modern size varies, typically with a capacity of about 400 cubic centimeters. For berries, about 250 grams. Formerly it was spelled “punnet”, but at present the spelling “punnett” appears more common.
The name comes from an 18th-century farmer in Bromley who sent his strawberries to the London markets in such baskets. In the 19th century the word was also applied to round baskets, like that of a modern Camembert cheese, and as large as 2.4 liters.
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Last revised: 17 September 2007.