How to Harvest a Lime Tree. Because a lime ready for the table is just as green as an unripe lime, harvesting your lime tree can become a guessing game-wasting much of your fruit in the process. If you're lucky enough to have a lime tree on your property, take some time to learn how to properly harvest your limes.
Watch for the lime blossoms to fade, after which point limes begin to form in cluster of five or six. If you prefer larger limes for your harvest, thin these clusters back to two or three. Otherwise, you don't need to do anything at this point.
Realize that a fully ripe lime is actually yellow, not green. However, a fully ripe lime isn't a desirable fruit. Instead, you have to pick it when it's still immature, making the usual tests for ripe fruit not applicable to limes.
Look for mostly light green limes on your tree before you harvest. Darker limes are less mature. Though you don't want a fully ripe lime, it has to be ripe enough to be juicy, and light green limes should be juicy.
Find a light green lime that feels relatively soft and has a smooth skin. It won't twist off readily like a ripe fruit, but you shouldn't have to exert much force.
Cut open the lime. Juice should run when you cut it, and it should give you a lot of juice when you squeeze it. If the lime isn't juicy, your lime tree isn't ready for harvest.
Wait a few days and repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you get a juicy lime.
- Unlike some fruits, limes and other citrus won't ripen further after you pick them.
- If you're just using limes for personal use, pick them as you need them or freeze the juice for later use.