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Food of the month - Lamb

May 2015

This is such a lovely time of year and we can't let the weeks go past without mentioning a top favourite meal at this time of year... lamb.

Today it can be a bit of a misnomer and any meat from a sheep might be called lamb. But technically lamb should be from a sheep younger than one year. Anything older is a hogget; or even older, at two years old or more, and the meat is then called mutton, a popular cut when most of us were young.

When choosing lamb to buy, there are a few things you can check.

Lamb of course is today available all year around. In the past spring lamb was a top favourite because it featured lambs born in winter and milk fed until spring when they then were turned out onto fresh new grass. Today however, some lambs may be reared indoors on cereal-based grain and this can result in less flavour. If this aspect is of interest, today you can often buy meat with full or partial traceability and most shops and supermarkets are happy to discuss their meat sourcing systems.

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Potatoes

Sardines

Cauliflower


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

The flavour of lamb is said to improve if it is hung for about a week; so again this is another aspect you can check with the butcher or supermarket.

When buying the lamb, the meat should be quite bright pink for young spring lambs; the meat will go darker as the sheep age. The fat should be quite dry, almost crumbly, certainly not wet. You can also look at the actual bones on the meat; these too should be a pink colour.

Lamb comes in a range of cuts from the familiar full and half legs to rib and loin chops. But however you cook lamb, it is a meat that provides really good nutrition.

Lamb is a really good source of protein, with 4 oz of lamb providing around 27 or 28 grams of protein. It is contains vitamin B12, so good for blood cell production; niacin (vitamin B3) which is needed in our nervous system and riboflavin (vitamin B2) which is involved in healthy vision.

Along with those key contents, lamb also provides a range of minerals and trace elements, including iron and copper. It also provides zinc; this is responsible for many different functions in the human body plus it helps stimulate the activity around one hundred different enzymes. Clearly a key benefit from this delicious meat.

Of course, as with so many nice things, there is a down side. Lamb can be quite rich in saturated fats and it also contains purines. These convert in the body into uric acid and if you have any problem eliminating them from your body, it can accumulate and increase the risk of kidney stones. People susceptible to gout and kidney stones are advised to avoid high purine foods.

Today, with good quality lamb available right across the UK; everyone can benefit from the taste and nourishment from this very traditional British food.

 


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