When cooler weather hits the garden, lettuce starts to thrive. For master gardener Mary Beth Shaddix and our Cooking Light Garden in Alabama, the fall crop means a bounty of gorgeous leafy greens, something that Shaddix has recently come to relish.
"I didn't really eat fresh salads until I grew my own," Shaddix says. "I thought salad greens lacked flavor. But when you grow your own, you can really explore the varieties—some have soft, buttery texture; others are crisp-crunchy. And they all have real taste."
Shaddix grew interesting varieties of three main lettuce types: romaine, butterhead, and loose leaf. The first two are typically harvested as whole heads, while loose leaf can be harvested sporadically, from the outside of the plant inward. We put them all to use here in ways that showcase their fantastic textures and fresh, lightly mineral flavors.