Summer gourds are appearing all over the Hollywood Farmers' Market, and among them is our favorite, the lemon cucumber.
Lemon cucumbers are an American heirloom variety dating back to 1894. About the size of a tennis ball, they range in color from pale to lemon yellow to orange (lighter ones tend to have thinner, more edible peels). The first time we tried a lemon cucumber, it was from our mom's CSA in Texas; it was the sweetest, most refreshing cuke we'd ever tasted, and we couldn't stop thinking about it! We were delighted when we found them at our farmers' market and now look forward to their appearance every summer.
They're so refreshing that we often just snack on them like sliced fruit. In salads, we think their crisp sweetness pairs well with rich avocados. Last week, we combined chopped lemon cucumbers with avocados, cherry tomatoes, onions, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar, served over brown rice with lentils and apricots (substituting ripe Blenheims for the dried apricots in the recipe). We're also eyeing recipes for cucumber almond soup (served in cucumber bowls!) and agua fresca with cucumber and lime.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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