Mutton is the meat of sheep from three to five years old. The best English mutton is taken from a sheep six years old. Lamb is the meat of young sheep of from six weeks to three months old. When one year old, lamb is spoken of as yearling. Mutton is raised throughout the United States. Mutton is marketed throughout the year. Spring lamb is in season through the spring and summer beginning with February and March.

Mutton is hung from three to six weeks before using in order to ripen or develop flavor.

Lamb should not be kept long after killing.

Cuts of Mutton

The animal is first split down the backbone, then divided into fore and hind quarters.

There are usually six divisions of cuts of mutton - the neck, chuck, shoulder, flank, loin and leg, or, neck, shoulder, breast, rib chops, loin, and leg.

The loin and leg together are sometimes known as the haunch.

The two loins, if not separated, form the saddle. The long saddle has the rump and tail left on; the short saddle consists only of the loins.

The ribs and loin together form the rack.

The small cuts from the ribs and loin are known as chops. Those from the last eight ribs nearest the loin are the best but all the rib chops have a large amount of waste and are very expensive cuts.

French chops are rib chops with the end of the bone trimmed off.

The leg is the most economical cut for a large family, as there is but little waste.

The flesh of sheep is fine grained with a shorter fiber than beef. The meat from the grain or grass-fattened mutton has the best flavor.

Good mutton should have a dull red or deep pink color; it should be firm to the touch but juicy. The fat should be abundant and be in little lines through the flesh. The fat is white, hard, and flaky containing a large per cent of stearin. There is usuallv a thick laver of fat on the back and leers. The bones should be small.

Good lamb will be a little less firm than mutton, more whitish in color, but the flesh should be clear, the fat white.

Lamb will be more fat than veal and mutton.

The bones in lamb chops are more pink and flexible than in mutton.

The bone at the leg joint in lamb is rough and serrated - in mutton it is smooth and round.

Lamb is more expensive than mutton and the cuts are smaller with more waste.

In chemical composition mutton closely resembles beef; the per cent of fat in mutton may be higher than in beef.

Mutton requires more care in handling and cooking than beef.

Improper cooking and low grade mutton have developed a strong prejudice against mutton with many people.

If the thick, tough membrane just inside the outer skin enveloping the animal is left on, it gives a "wooly flavor" to the meat as the oil strikes through. This skin should be removed when the meat is prepared for cooking.

Mutton is not liable to disease and mutton chops may be served rare. Though lamb is delicate and tender, it must be well-cooked to be wholesome.

The meat of the fore-quarter or shoulder is boned and stuffed for roasting.

The neck, breast, and flank are used for stews, pot pies, and boiling.

The neck is also used for broth.

The portion above the hoof called "Sheep's Trotters" is used in Jellies, Pickling, and Sousing.

The ribs, loin, leg, and rump may be used for roasting. The ribs and loin are more frequently cut into chops for broiling.

The leg is one of the best roasts and is also excellent for boiling.

To counteract the effect of the large amount of fat in mutton it is served with acid sauces - mint, caper, tomato, highly seasoned curry, etc.

It is accompanied with peas, asparagus, new potatoes, etc.

Mutton ranks next to beef in food value and composition but is a little more difficult of digestion; if very fat, the mutton disagrees with some people.