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How to Tell When Lemons are Ready to Pick

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This is my first time for growning citrus here in Arizoina. My lemons are now turning from green to yellow, how do I know when they are ripe for picking? Is there an easy way to tell?

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  1. I go by smell--I pierce a bit of peel with my fingernail, and when I get a really good lemony smell, that's the one I cut. BTW, cut them, don't pull--pulling damages the foliage. Another BTW--as a "Buckeye"--are you an Ohio transplant to Arizona (which I call Arid-zona)? I'm a transplant to southern Cal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pine time

      I live in the Town of Buckeye, Arizona. Some of the towns founders came from Ohio. Often when an Ohio College football team comes to the Phoenix area for a big college bowl game, the team will often come to Buckeye and have dinner here in town. I am a transplant from Orange County in Southern California. A lot of the same fruits/veggies that can are grown here are grown in SoCal but sometimes we need to plant at different times of year than SoCal. I started picking tomatoes a couple weeks ago.

    2. One warning, when they do ripen, they ripen all at once. Many years ago when we lived in Tucson, I had planted a lemon tree in the backyard, and the first harvest caught us by surprise. With me picking, my father-in-law squeezing, and my wife processing, we killed an entire day in reducing hundreds of lemons to juice--and had to give much away when we ran out of freezer room.

      1. Confessing here that I cheat. I wait til they fall off the tree. Our don't ripen all at once, maybe this is a varietal thing?

        1. I wish I had that problem. Here in the midwest, not a lemon tree to be found (indoors or out).

          1 Reply
          1. re: itryalot

            Eh, I'm in Indiana I have a dwarf meyer lemon tree. Kumquat, limequat, and kaffir lime too. They're really easy to grow, they fruit in the summer and then ripen indoors in the winter. The best meyer lemons I've ever had were the ones I grew here, much heavier and juicier than the ones in the grocery store.