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Lettuce Varieties: A Guide To What's What

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You don't need to be an expert in lettuces to appreciate the leafy greens. But there are many types of lettuces to know -- all with different shapes, sizes and flavors. If you're interested in exploring lettuce beyond "cardboard" iceberg, then we've got the guide for you. We cover the common head lettuces and small leafy ones that might be hard to tell apart at first, but eventually you'll know your mizuna from your mache.

Most lettuces grow in heads, either tightly closed crispheads or looseleaf heads. Lettuces like arugula and mizuna grow as leaves on stems -- you'll find these sold loose or in bags or plastic boxes, oftentimes mixed with different varieties (called mesclun salad). But if you're looking to buy single variety leaf lettuces, you'll want to shop at the farmers' market, where they often keep them separated. And now is the perfect time to do so since they're in season all summer long.

Learn the different types of lettuces in the slideshow below.

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Main photo from 305 Seahill, Flickr.

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