A Definitive Guide on How to Tell If a Lemon Is Ripe

How do you tell if a lemon is ripe for eating? Find out by reading this definitive guide on how to tell when lemon fruit is ripe, flavorful and ready to enjoy.

Are you wondering how to tell when a lemon is most ripe for enjoying? If you enjoy lemons or are starting to purchase and consume them more often, it's important to have a solid understanding of when this citrus fruit is ripe. 

We have created a guide about how to tell if a lemon is ripe, so if you love lemons, keep reading to improve your knowledge on choosing ripe lemons.

Time of Year

Harvest times for lemons can affect when a lemon is ripe. This can depend on the type of lemon grown and the climate the lemon is grown in. Different types of lemons are harvested at different times of year, meaning that regardless of the season, there is a lemon variety out there ripe and ready to eat. It is important to consider the time of year and your location (inland or coastal) when finding lemons that are ripe. 

To take away the element of uncertainty, consider Meyer lemons. While these lemons are harvested between November and March, Meyer lemons tend to grow year round and can be found ripe year round.

Lemon Properties

There are a few ways to identify a ripe lemon. The size and color of the lemon as well as its consistency are telltale signs of whether a lemon is ripe and ready to eat or not. Here is what to look for:


Ripe lemons measure between two and three inches, so pay attention to their size. Keep in mind that the size of the lemon is a more important indicator of ripeness than its color, so make sure you take this into account when checking out lemons at the store . 


A greenish hue to your lemons might leave you wondering, "Is my lemon ripe?" The answer is that if you have Meyer lemons and they are more yellow with a tinge of green, or an egg-yolk color, they're either ready for harvest and will result in ripe lemons. Other types of lemons need to turn yellow before they are considered ripe, but the good news is that even if they still look greenish, most lemons will continue to ripen once they are off of a tree.


The texture of a lemon and its consistency is another factor to determine ripeness. Firmness is a good sign of ripeness; if the lemon feels squishy, it has probably passed its peak. In general, if no perfectly ripe lemons are available where you are, it is better to choose lemons when they're a little less ripe than overripe.

Taste Test

When it comes to how to tell if a lemon is ripe, taste is key. Choose a lemon and cut it open. You can taste it and examine how juicy it is. Examining one type of lemon will give you a good sense of whether similar lemons are ripe and ready to eat too.

In general, because lemons are tart, growers do not need to leave lemons on the tree to sweeten. However, Meyer lemons sometimes benefit from a bit more time on the tree because they are less acidic and thus sweeter by nature. 

This Is How to Tell if a Lemon Is Ripe

Determining the ripeness of your lemons is easy when you know what to look for. The time of year in concert with the lemon's size, color, consistency, and taste are key elements in determining a lemon's ripeness. Now that you know how to tell if a lemon is ripe, it's time to start enjoying more of the lemons you choose!


Try our seasonal citrus box while its available...the Craft Citrus Club!

Our Rio box is a 15-lb curated box of our fresh-harvested citrus from South Texas. The fruit is NOT gassed, rather it is tree-ripened. Our season runs from Nov-May for oranges, grapefruit and mandarins.

Our Grande box is a 30-lb box of either fresh-harvested Rio Red Grapefruit or Sweet Oranges from South Texas.


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