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Fruit Maturity in Persian Lime & Eureka Lemon Compared

US Citrus Persian lime is a non-climacteric fruit!

Eureka lemon is a non-climacteric fruit!

Whereas, avocado is a climacteric fruit and also your banana.

Among your favorite fruits, apples, bananas, apricots, tomatoes are climacteric fruits; whereas, citrus (Persian lime and Eureka lemon included), grapes, and strawberries are not climacteric fruits. 

When was the last time you took a close look at the surface of a Persian lime or Eureka lemon fruit? The fruit skin is covered with small oil glands. If you apply too much pressure on the fruit harvesting, oil glands explode and spread oil on the skin. Such fruit shows skin burns and gets rejected from shipping. 

A mature Persian lime and a Eureka lemon fruit behave like an infant – they love gentle human touch, so you need to be very careful and delicate with harvesting.

Now coming to the term: Climacteric, it is a stage of fruit ripening. Facial hair on the chin, cheeks, and upper lip of human males is a characteristic of human growth stages in puberty or adolescence. 

The Climacteric Stage of Fruit Ripening

Climacteric is a fruit ripening stage associated with an increase in ethylene production and increased cell respiration. Ethylene is a natural plant hormone and used in agriculture to force the ripening of fruits. It is a colorless, flammable gas with a faint "sweet and musky" smell. We can measure ethylene gas in parts per million quantities.

Climacteric is the final physiological process that makes the end of fruit maturation before the fruit reaches biological aging, normally known as senescence. There will be a sudden rise in the fruit's respiration with a measurable increase in carbon dioxide. Fruit pigment (color) changes and sugar release are part of this climacteric stage. This stage marks the edible ripeness, best taste, and texture for human consumption. Slowly, the fruit becomes susceptible to degradations. 

In simple English, Climacteric fruits continue to ripen even after harvest. The common examples are banana, apple, kiwi, figs, pears, mangoes, peaches, plums, tomatoes, and avocados. That is why if you place bananas in a paper bag, close it – the banana will ripen. Banana is more forgiving to the harvester compared to a Persian lime or Eureka lemon harvester. 

Differences in Fruit Ripening & Colors

Fruits like Persian lime, Eureka lemon, and all other citrus fruit, all berries, cherries, grapes, and grapefruit are non-climacteric – they do not get ripe in storage.

Between a Persian lime and a Eureka lemon, the former is tricky. A ripe Eureka lemon will change color from green to yellow! 

Whereas, a market-ready Persian lime is expected to be green – never yellow!

A market-ready Persian lime is expected to have a minimum of 42% juice in the fruit. If you harvest a Persian lime pre-mature, the juice content and juice flavor would be lower. 

The Finest-Quality Craft Citrus Fruit

Next time you're enjoying the finest-quality CRAFT Citrus from US Citrus, (www.uscitrus.com), such as our Persian lime on your ceviche, salad, or cocktails, please give a salute to our fruit harvesters - Charlie, David, Martha, Belinda, and Jose who harvest the right ripe fruit for you, carefully, one fruit at a time.

Mani Skaria, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus and Founder of US Citrus

Mani.skaria@uscitrus.com

Interested in fresh citrus fruit delivered to you? Join The Craft Citrus Club for a 10-lb subscription box of the most delicious citrus fruit from South Texas sent to your door every month!

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