Choosing and Buying Lamb

When buying lamb or mutton, try to choose the leanest piece you can find, and avoid meat with fat that looks crumbly, brittle or discoloured. As a general rule, the more appetising a piece of lamb looks, the more flavoursome it will be.

New season lamb is far more tender, with a more delicate flavour than lamb produced later in the year. New season lamb is available from early spring to late summer; the further south the farm, the sooner they produce lambs. The availability will also depend on the breed of sheep; old fashioned traditional or rare breeds are slower to mature and so they are often not be ready for the table until late spring or early summer.

You should also try to check where the lamb was raised; the majority of lamb comes from lowland farms where the sheep are fat, you may find however that you prefer leaner lamb from the hills. Sheep from Welsh and Scottish farms provide good examples of lean, hillside lamb. The type of food the animal eats is also an important factor; France's Atlantic coast is famous for its pré-salé lamb (pre-salted lamb), which comes from sheep that have grazed on its salt marshes.

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