Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mutton versus Lamb.

There are thousands of sheep around here.   In the Dales it is almost all grassland and something has to eat the grass.   In the Summer the dairy herds are out, their daily intake carefully controlled by electric fences; but all year round the fields are full of sheep.   Their woolly coats withstand any weather (they even survive being dug out of snowdrifts most of the time) and their main aim in life seems to be eat, eat, eat.  By this time of year the grass is of poor quality and to keep the sheep in good condition they have to have a supplement - in our case 'sheep nuts'.  Nigel, the sheep nuts man, rang last night to say he is delivering two tons of nuts some time today.   As the sheep eat two bags of this, plus two bales of silage every day, this should keep them going for a while.   They now recognise the sound of the tractor coming with their daily rations and run to meet it.  Sadly last week, they got too near and the farmer accidentally ran over and killed one of the sheep.

It has always been a mystery to me where all the sheep-meat goes.   Lamb is very expensive in the shops here.   We rarely eat it, mainly because the farmer finds it rather fatty (and I am hardly a meat-eater).   But when I went into our Deli/Butchery the other day I found that he had started to keep mutton - easily recognisable by its much darker coloured meat.   I spoke to him about it and he said it was becoming very popular.   When I was a child I don't really remember much lamb, I think it was almost all mutton.

Do you eat lamb - or mutton for that matter - and if so, what do you do with it other than serve it up as chops or a roast joint?

**If you are working from an old computer and getting cross because it it slow - I have read in The Times this morning that 7 years is the same as 85 in computer terms, so be forgiving.  (After my exercise class yesterday I felt twenty years younger so maybe you should start taking it on walks round the block!) 

24 comments:

Heather said...

I don't ever remember eating mutton though I must have as a child. It was used to make a tasty stew or casserole I think. I love roast lamb but it is rather rich and indigestible. I am amazed at the price of lamb in the shops when farmers get so little for a whole animal.
Is that information about the age of computers just to put us off complaining about our service being slow?!!

thelma said...

Like you meat doesn't figure too much in my life. As a child I remember my grandfather cooking a leg of lamb on a base of uncooked rice, and presumed this was to soak up the fat. Lamb stew made with neck? was always delicious. Think most of our lamb is shipped abroad.

Leilani Lee said...

We used to eat lamb quite a bit when I was a child. We once bought a lamb from a local farmer and had it butchered, but aside from that, I can count on 1 hand the number of times we have eaten lamb in the last 20 years or so. We love lamb, but it is just not routinely available here (southern Midwest in U.S.) in the markets, and on the rare occasions when it is available, the price per pound is way beyond our budget.

Barbara Womack said...

It's so interesting to hear that lamb is expensive in your country and that you don't consume much of it. I thought that was just an American thing. It is reported that Americans eat just .88# of lamb per person! Apparently, far more is consumed in Australia and New Zealand.
Lamb (not mutton) is becoming more popular in the US, which is encouraging to us as shepherds. I truly enjoy the taste of lamb, although I find the taste of mutton far too strong.
I would love to see the sheep following the farmer on the tractor. Most the flocks in our area are quite small, and it is the cattle who follow tractors/trucks to get their meals.

A Heron's View said...

Like yourself and others, I too don't eat meat very often and to be honest when it comes lamb then my preference is for gigot chops.
With beef it is ribeye or fillet steaks or occasionally we have organic mince during the winter months.
My 'puter is a 20inch early 2008 iMac running Yosemite and I have no complaints with it's operational speed.

Rachel said...

When I was a child it was only called mutton and I dont know when it started to be called the fancy name of lamb. I roast a leg of mutton most weeks with rosemary and served with mint sauce. Very nice too it is.

Gwil W said...

I used to enjoy lamb chops donkey's year ago. But these days I don't eat a lot of meat and if I do it's mainly chicken, duck, deer or beef. Today Im having salmon. Just remembered, I've seen lamb cat food in the supermarket.

Joanne Noragon said...

My mother, who was a poor cook, never made lamb, although my grandmothers served it. My mother-in-law taught me how to roast a leg of lamb; it was fabulous and I served it occasionally. My mother was staying once, after I was divorced, popped my leg of lamb into the crock pot to cook. It was too awful and I've not had lamb since.

Frances said...

Like you, I do not eat much meat. I very much prefer the flavor of lamb to that of mutton, but admit that it's been quite a while since I have had either. As others have commented, the price is so very high.

I'll look for some Wensleydale cheese the next time I go shopping. And will think of you and your dales.

Best wishes.

angryparsnip said...

I never have eaten mutton. But as a child I remember My Mum commenting on it. Many people her age would say lamb is so fatty and tough and smells bad and my mother that is mutton and not lamb.
Being Polish we always had leg of lamb for Easter, slivered garlic poked onto the skin, salt and pepper and then roasted to perfection and nicely pink inside.
I miss those dinners.
Maybe because I grew up eating lamb I love it.
Much like duck I have to wait till it is on sale. Both are expensive here.
Lamb chops are my favorite but we also make it in a green curry.

cheers, parsnip

Mac n' Janet said...

We eat lamb, but not very often it's so expensive. I've never had mutton.

MorningAJ said...

Oh - mutton if I have the choice. Sadly we rarely do. Supermarkets seem to think it's not a proper animal and my butcher doesn't seem to keep it. I always assumed it was because you have to keep the beast an extra year or two so it costs more to produce.

I'll eat lamb any way I get the chance. Stews, minced in middle eastern dishes, cutlets or a nice Barnsley chop! Just not too often.

I bought lamb 'stir fry' last week and I did it with Moroccan spices, wrapped in flatbreads with salad and mint yoghurt.

donna baker said...

Have never tasted either, though I hear lamb chops are good. Tell your hubby to go very slow while feeding. My hubby takes off at lightning speed and will run over anything not quick enough to get out of the way. Many times, it is another animal that runs it in front of the equipment.

jinxxxygirl said...

I have never had lamb or mutton. I eat quite a bit of meat...usually chicken or turkey or beef, some fish.... Hugs!deb

Terry and Linda said...

I have never had mutton or lamb. If I ever do I hope it is cooked by someone who understands how to make it yummy.

Linda ♪♫❤
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer

Gerry Snape said...

Irish stew was always mutton...glad it's back again. We buy our meat from Mr. Sweeney!!...love that he's called that...a jolly man!

The Weaver of Grass said...

What an interesting lot of comments here - the sort that should be read by all sheepfarmers I think. So thank you for joining in the debate.

Cloudia said...

Glad your exercise had such fine results




ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

Cloudia said...

Glad your exercise went so well!



ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

Sarah Head said...

We grew up eating our own home-grown lamb or lately my uncle's, who is still farming at the age of 82. I've never eaten mutton but when we spent a year in New Zealand in 1968 we could only buy hogget, which was the year old lambs since all the younger ones were exported. I still love lamb - chops, roasted legs or shoulders. I rarely buy it because of the price, but love to make lamb tagines with cinnamon and other spices.

Virginia said...

There's a huge difference in taste between lamb and mutton. Mutton has a very strong flavour so is better slow cooked with a moist heat method, and surrounded my lots of root vegetables and herbs to balance the flavours. Lamb is much more delicate and can be cooked to 'slightly pink' rather than well-cooked, when it is (ruined) greyer and can be tougher. In New Zealand, believe it or not, we are paying AT LEAST as much as you are for NZ lamb, owing to deals stitched up by the big importers. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how cheap our lamb was in British supermarkets.

Cro Magnon said...

When Mutton eating became fashionable again recently, a rather foppish friend of mine invited my to dinner and declared that we would be eating Mutton. Frankly it tasted to me no different to Lamb; I suspect he was lying.

Helsie said...

There seems to be a huge stigma attached to mutton so you never see it in the supermarkets here. I used to buy mutton fillets once and used them in stir fries. They were lovely. There's nothing better than roast leg of lamb and mint jelly !

lil red hen said...

We raise chickens for Tyson here in the USA and I've often wondered the same thing ~ who eats all the chicken? The processing plant here in our small town processes over a million chickens in a week, and there are many other plants in other cities. I've never eaten lamb or mutton.