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When are limes ready to be picked?

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I don't know much/anything about lime trees - including if there are multiple breeds/varietys. However, generally speaking, what is a good way of telling when a lime is ready to be picked? I have a friend who currently has a lime tree in his garden, and neither of us can quite tell when they're ready to be picked. It is still early in the season, so maybe later on it will be more obvious? But right now we're both a bit in the dark.

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  1. citrus fruit isn't usually ripe until the winter months (and I think Israel runs more-or-less on the same calendar as Florida) -- so you're too early, first of all. (you might want to ask around -- you'll also start seeing limes in the stores/markets at about the right time).

    They should feel like a supermarket lime -- heavy for their size, and give a little to light pressure -- they shouldn't feel like rocks!

    Then give a steady pull with a little bit of a twist. If they're ripe, they'll release from the tree right away -- if they're not ready, that tree isn't going to give them up!

    1. Actually, both key limes and tahiti or persian lime trees bear fruit year round, though the main season is early summer in South florida and late summer further north. Summer is the main season for both key limes and tahiti limes, not winter. As I am located in Florida, I'm not sure about the season for other parts of the world. As to how to know when to pick, harvest key limes when the peel is a yellow color; persian or tahiti limes are ready to pick when they reach about one and three-quarter inches in diameter and the skin is a dark to medium dark green. If your limes have little juice, they aren't ripe - wait a bit longer to harvest.

      2 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks

        My key limes in Florida (for a few decades, no less) bore only in the fall -- yes, yellow skins.

        My Persian limes were about November.

        1. re: janniecooks

          Ok, I think I'm working with Persian limes - and I think I'm going to go by size/skin color. We picked a few the other day, and some were definitely ripe and others weren't - so while I think we're in the very early part of the season - some are definitely ready.