Unlike some fruits, citrus does not continue to ripen after being harvested. Here are three tips to help determine if your citrus is ready to be picked.

  • Taste test – This is considered the best test. Pick a piece of fruit from two different parts of the tree. Cut them open and sample the fruit.  If both of those pieces taste as it should, then it is safe to assume that all the fruit on that tree is ready for harvesting. If it doesn’t taste right, wait a week and try again.
  • Fruit Skin Color – Lemons and oranges start out green when immature but change to a yellow or orange color as they ripen. Keeping an eye on the color of the fruit can help determine when you can conduct your ripeness test.  There are exceptions, such as Valencia oranges will turn a yellow-green when ripe. 
  • Picking Resistance – When citrus is ready to be picked, it should come off the tree with little resistance. If the fruit does not come off the tree easily, and you find yourself struggling to remove the fruit, it is likely not fully ripe. The proper way to pluck fruit from a tree is to grasp it in the palm of your hand and twist it while simultaneously pulling the fruit away from the tree.