What is Organic Mutton?
What is Organic Mutton?
And Why We Should Eat More of It…
A while back we introduced our organic mutton and the differences it holds when compared to organic lamb. We said then that mutton is quite misunderstood, and as online butchers we still feel the same today. With this in mind, we thought it was time to expand upon the importance of organic mutton to British sheep farmers across the country as well as trying to inspire more households to add some high-quality mutton to their next organic meat delivery.
What is Mutton? A Quick Recap
Most people will know that organic mutton is taken from organic sheep, but so is organic lamb – so what makes them different? The main difference between mutton and lamb is their age, and this is what affects the other distinctions, too. Organic lamb is taken from sheep under 12 months old, meaning their meat is pink to light red in colour having only been running around in the fields for a short time. This also means that the meat is tender with a milder flavour. In addition, lambs under the age of 3 month are known as Spring Lambs. These are a popular choice for an Easter roast dinner centrepiece for their extremely tender and even milder flavour. However, these aren’t always the best choice environmentally – read more in our article.
Mutton is usually around 3 years old, but can be anywhere from 12 months to 5 years. It’s had longer to develop, so the meat is a deeper red colour with a greater covering of fat. This produces a stronger flavour, and those who are a fan of game would probably take a liking to mutton, too. The best mutton recipes are slow-cooked, and due to its popularity in the middle east, it lends itself well to Indian dishes such as a masala, rogan josh or madras with all the trimmings.
What happened to Mutton?
Considering back in the day our ancestors used to love a mutton supper, it’s sad to see it take such a decline nowadays. In Victorian era Britain, mutton was loved by all classes, but the quick production of lamb forced this new meat to the forefront. For sheep farmers, it made more economical sense to sell lamb cuts, keeping their sheep for wool production and of course, further lambing.
With less and less mutton appearing on dinner plates across the nation, it’s no surprise that there has been a loss of taste for this organic meat. However, consumer demand for lamb but not so much for mutton is leaving us in a bit of a sticky situation…
Why We Should Eat More Mutton
Farmers continue to produce sheep’s meat as many still love a delicious cut of organic lamb, such as a classic lamb rump. However, as they struggle to sell their organic mutton it means a large amount of food waste. Many in the industry believe that to continue enjoying lamb cuts, we also need to be choosing the older alternative every once in a while.
Not only does choosing organic mutton mean less waste, but sheep are also great for naturally maintaining otherwise unused and mistreated land. Our grass-fed mutton cuts reduce the need to produce carbon-dependant grain, as well as supporting our partner farms and helping to make the best use of their assets.
For some, the idea of mutton might be enough to put them off. That’s why it’s so important to choose high quality, organic meat and the correct prep and cooking methods. Where possible, opting for an organic, grass-fed mutton cut will ensure a tasty and tender end product. As previously mentioned, cooking organic mutton low and slow will prove the most effective cooking process. A great place to start is with our Organic Diced Mutton. These are cut ready for slow cooker mutton recipes such as stews, casseroles or a yummy mutton curry.
For an organic meat that was once a traditional British dinner, it would be a shame to see it lost. We have a variety of organic mutton cuts available, from mutton chops to whole shoulder of mutton for roasting. But hurry if we’ve convinced you to add these to your next organic grocery box delivery, as the mutton season is quickly coming to an end!
- Libby Long