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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

When to Harvest Oranges?

Q. My oranges are turning orange. How long should I wait before I harvest them.

Yes, oranges and other tender citrus will grow in Las Vegas but not without some careful considerations.
A. Oranges do not necessarily turn orange before they are ready. Orange color develops due to climate. In the tropics oranges remain green or green/yellow even when  they are ready to eat.

Fully ripe oranges in the Philippines. They do not turn orange because of the warm climate. The fruit above it is rambutan.
Orange color is induced in oranges that don’t develop good color using ethylene gas in closed rooms where orange color is important for marketing and sales. The best way is to pick one and try it. If sufficiently sweet, harvest the others or wait and harvest when needed during cold months but leaving them on the tree too long can reduce the number of flowers in the next cycle of fruit production. When they are ripe start removing them. Cut the stem close to the fruit, don't pull the fruit from the tree, for better storage life.

Handheld refractometer used for measuring total dissolved solids (sugar content) from the juice of fruits and vegetables.

A sophisticated method is to purchase a small handheld device called a refractometer and measure the sugar content. Maturity in fruit is usually a measure of the sugar content which the refractometer will read for you.

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