ingredients magazine
lamb history
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lamb history

Though once popular in the U.S., Americans lost their taste for lamb during the Second World War when sheep were raised mainly for wool. Sheep were only slaughtered and sold for meat after they had produced their share of wool. The meat of an older sheep is tough and has a distinct, gamey flavor, so it is no wonder lamb lost its appeal during that time. Fortunately the quality of lamb has come a long way from those days. Subsequently, Americans are getting excited about lamb again.

Other nations have been excited about lamb since some ancient humans realized that sheep are the ultimate domesticated animal. They not only provide a low maintenance source of protein, but they also grow a great insulation material that is easily manipulated and useful. They make milk high in fat and calories that is great for cheese. Sheep can survive on a variety of grasses and plants, including hearty and abundant fare like desert sage in the winter. Granted ample space to roam and forage, supplementing the natural diet with oats and grain may not even be necessary in a good year.

The terms lamb, mutton and hogget all refer to the meat that comes from sheep, but in particular, lamb usually refers to meet from sheep that are less than 12 months old. The classification of different types of sheep meat is usually strict and varies between countries. New Zealand and Australia, for example, have rules that specify things like age, gender and even the presence of permanent teeth. In the US lamb is defined as any cut of meat from any sheep, regardless of age or gender.

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