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5 reasons why you should eat local lamb

Roast lamb is one of the finest Sunday roasts going, I think. Mint sauce, roast potatoes and a side of roast vegetables – I love it! Leftover roast lamb makes for a great meal the next day too – either fried up with some boiled new potatoes, turned into a meat pie with a crispy, flaky pastry shell, made into stovies or even transformed into a spicy Indian curry.

Traditionally, lamb has been reserved for special Sunday dinners – usually around Easter time, but I want to try and convince you that it’s a great ingredient to have for effortless midweek meals too.

Lamb is the meat from a sheep less than one year of age. It is more tender and milder in flavour than mutton, which is from sheep older than one year (usually around three).

Living in Scotland, naturally-reared lamb is one of the meats we eat on a regular basis, next to seafood, and these are some of the reasons why we love it so much:

Lamb is a delicious and versatile ingredient

You can buy lamb in a variety of different cuts: mince, chops, leg steaks, rolled breast, bone-in shoulder and diced shoulder are all often available at our local supermarkets. You can also ask your butcher to prepare a specific cut for you, say, a lamb chop rack for creating a triple lamb crown for a special occasion.

Flavour-wise, it is very earthy and gamey, with a distinct, unique flavour profile. The meat, cooked right, is tender and juicy and lends itself to a wide variety of cuisines.

Lamb is similar to beef in that you can serve it medium-rare. Bacteria only live on the outside surface of beef and lamb, which means as long as the outside is seared you can enjoy your grilled lamb steak just as you please.

Lamb is nutritious

Lamb is a nutrient-dense food; a rich source of complete protein (complete proteins contain all the amino acids) as well as being a significant source of vitamins and minerals. Although lamb is a fatty meat, its fat comes from equal parts saturated and monounsaturated, the same type of fat in olive oil. It's also got a higher omega-3 fatty acid content compared to other meats.

Lamb is inexpensive

Lamb tends to be very reasonably priced these days in the supermarkets. It’s not as expensive a meat as it used to be. Certain cuts such as lamb mince, neck and shoulder tend to be less expensive too. Don’t forget to check out your local butchers for offers.

The positive environmental impact of eating lamb

Eating local lamb with its low food miles is much better for the environment than shipping vegan substitutes from across the globe.

The kindest diet for the planet is one that is low in food miles, reducing the pollution and congestion associated with the long-distance transport of food. By eating locally reared meat, dairy and vegetables you can enjoy a balanced diet knowing that you are doing your bit for the environment.

Sheep produce natural fertiliser, utilise land in which vegetable crops cannot be grown and turn food which do not make the grade for human consumption into nutritious meat and milk.

When you eat a lamb chop you help maintain grassland habitat, support biodiversity, remove CO2 from the atmosphere and preserve soil structure.

You will be directly supporting local farmers

Local farmers have a vested interest in maintaining a sustainable environment for their herds; their livelihood depends on it. Spending money on locally produced meat directly supports local farmers and producers as well as the local economy. It has been suggested that every pound spent locally is worth £1.76 to the local economy.

5 lamb recipes you might like

1. Roast Lamb & Rosemary Pie https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/roast-lamb-rosemary-pie/

2. Slow-cooked Lamb Bourguignon https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/lamb-bourguignon/

3. Slow-cooked Lamb Shanks with Vegetables & Gravy https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/slow-cooked-lamb-shanks/

4. 3 Easy Asian-style BBQ lamb marinades https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/bbq-lamb-marinades/

5. Lamb Leg Steaks in a Herb Marinade https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/bbq-lamb-leg-steaks-herb-marinade/

Elizabeth Atia

Mum, daydream adventurer, ex-pat Canadian & quite possibly Britain's most northerly award-winning food blogger. Calls Shetland home. https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/

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