Oranges are among the easiest fruits to harvest. When the fruit is no longer green, check it for ripeness by pulling off, peeling and tasting one of the oranges from your tree.
- Your fruit begins to fall off the trees when it is ripe. You can’t tell just by the color, so pull one orange off and taste it. If it tastes sweet and fresh and is juicy, it is probably ready to harvest.
- Grasp a ripe orange in your hand and gently twist it until it detaches from the tree. Avoid using too much force when detaching the fruit so you don’t damage the branch.
- Use scissors or plant snips to clip the stems as an alternative to pulling the oranges off the tree. This is the best choice if the orange peel tears when you try to pull the fruit off the tree by hand.
- Gather recently fallen fruit from the ground. If it is still firm and uniformly colored, with unbroken skin, it should be fine to eat.
The prime harvest month of citrus in San Antonio is December. The advantage of harvesting fruit before December is that if your tree is full of satsumas, lemons, limes, tangerines, and/or grapefruit, you can be overwhelmed with fruit at that time. Better to spread out the harvest October to December.