Spring New Zealand Lamb
Lamb will vary in taste and texture, according to the age of the animal and the type of pasture it was grazed on. Spring New Zealand Lamb is available from early Spring until the Summer. It is very tender and has a more refined flavour as it has not had as much time to graze. New season spring New Zealand lamb should be cooked simply so the delicate taste is not overpowered. It is later in the year that lamb acquires a stronger more robust taste.
Young lambs depend on milk from their mothers to get their vital nutrients however they will start to feed on grass after about three to four weeks of age. Most early spring lamb you will see in the shops are reared almost entirely from grass.
Early season lambs have a softer whiter fat. This fat coverage is important as a small quantity in the cooking enhances the succulence and overall flavour of the lamb during cooking. Later in the year the rate at which the grass grows slows down and this change leads to more variable types of meat and surrounding fat.
The popularity of spring lamb is due to its delicate flavour and succulent, tender texture. The younger the animal is the more tender the meat and milder the flavour with a hint of sweetness. The meat from younger animals will be paler getting darker as the animal ages. When cooking your spring lamb try not to add too many other flavours apart from a bit of seasoning. Around Easter Spring New Zealand Lamb makes the ideal roast.