When is lamb lamb?

This weekend Laura, a former member of staff now living in the Lake District, visited with her partner and kindly brought us a fully butchered Herdwick lamb for our freezer.  It looks delicious and I cannot wait to throw some onto the barbecue.  Laura’s partner is a hill farmer in the Lakes and we had an interesting conversation on the different definitions of lamb in the UK and in France.  In Britain lamb can be meat from an animal up to 15 months old.  To be marketed as lamb the animal must be marketed in the year of its birth or in the year following its birth if born after 30 September.  Meat from older animals is termed hogget.  It is only once the animals have started to produce teeth that their meat is known as mutton.  Spring lamb is milk fed lamb that is born in late Winter or early Spring and slaughtered at an age of between 3 and 5 months.

Later as I was packing and labelling the lamb ready for freezing, I was surprised to note that my lamb only had two legs.  It prompted me to investigate the different cuts of lamb and I have attached a diagram for your interest.  In fact it is official – like humans, lambs only have two legs!  The fore legs are known as shoulders.  The lower parts of both the leg and shoulder are known as the shanks so on this reckoning I am still missing four shanks Laura.  Caveat emptor.