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Cocktails, popsicles, salads and more great recipes for cucumbers, now in season

Cocktails, popsicles, salads and more great recipes for cucumbers, now in season
Persian cucumbers at the Santa Monica farmers market. (Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)

What's in season: A member of the gourd family, cucumbers come in a number of varieties far beyond the dark, thick-skinned ones you might have grown up with. Local cucumbers begin showing up in the markets later in spring, with a season that runs through the summer months. Varieties range from textured pickling cucumbers to smooth Persian cucumbers, which look like small, compact versions of the almost seedless English cucumber. Armenian cucumbers, which look and taste like oversized curvy cucumbers, are actually a part of the melon family.

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What to cook: Cucumbers are a classic summer staple, chopped raw and added to salads or cold bowls of gazpacho — or, of course, made into pickles. But the fruit can also be cooked in a variety of ways. Dredge cucumber slices and deep-fry them into "chips" with a dipping sauce. You can also purée cucumbers, then add them to cocktails, popsicles or paletas. If your cucumbers have a bitter edge, be sure to seed them and remove the peel before using.

What's on the horizon: Bell peppers and eggplant are showing up.

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