Few things beat the taste of fresh lettuce you just harvested from your vegetable garden. Depending on which type of lettuce you planted this year, you can start picking leaves at just about any size. For other varieties, such as Bibb lettuce, you’ll want to wait until the lettuce is full size in diameter (around 6 to 8 inches)—waiting longer results in matured lettuce that tastes slightly bitter or earthy.
You can either pick leaves from the outside of your head of lettuce, or cut the entire head off at the base. If you choose the latter, you should note that the second growth of your lettuce leaves will be different in color and texture that may not be as delicate as your first harvest.
Depending on how much lettuce you’re harvesting, you’ll want a sizeable bucket of cold water to plunge the leaves into. This helps thoroughly clean the leaves from dirt and perk up any wilted greens from the hot summer sun.