To grow and enjoy your own fresh lemons, you do not have to live in a warm, tropical climate. Many dwarf lemon trees are available that are small enough to grow in containers. These containers can be brought indoors to a sunny location for the cooler months. Lemons must ripen on the tree. They do not ripen any further once they are picked. Lemons typically cycle through several harvesting periods throughout the year.
Look for signs that the lemons are ripening on the tree. The first sign is that they reach a mature size, which varies among varieties. Then, look for the lemons to turn from green to yellow.
Pick a lemon when it is solid yellow, with no green on the rind. It should also look heavy and plump. Simply twist and pull the lemons off of the tree or use a pair of hand clippers. Wrinkled lemons or ones that are soft or hard in spots are overripe. You can still use them, but they will contain less juice.
Store lemons out of the sunlight at room temperature for up to a week. To keep them fresh for the longest time possible, store them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They should last a month.