We often see lamb imported from New Zealand, which is available all year round but in season British lamb is hard to beat. British lamb is most tender around May-June but the flavour will develop as the season progresses.
When buying lamb, you should be looking for firm, pinkish flesh with creamy white fat. You can store your lamb in the fridge for a couple of days. You can freeze lamb but it does tend to dry the meat, making it best used in slow cooked dishes rather than grilling, roasting or frying.
The whole shoulder is also sometimes called "square cut" which consists of the arm, blade, and rib bones. This cut is usually prepared by roasting.
This is one of the tougher cuts and is generally sold as Stewing lamb or made into mince. When sold in pieces it is only suitable for very long, slow, moist cooking. Although tough the flavour is very good so well worth the extra cooking.
The loin is the most tender part of the lamb. It is from this area that loin chops come from as well as medallions, noisettes as well as roasting cuts. Suitable for roasting although the joints tend to be small unless you have a whole saddle which is made up of a double loin roast, from both sides of the backbone. Frying and grilling are excellent for the smaller cuts.
This is a prime cut with little fat which is excellent for roasting as a joint. It is often cut into lamb steaks suitable for frying or grilling or into cubes for lean kebabs.
This cut is suitable for slow roasting, stewing and braising. It has become very popular in recent years especially when braised when a whole shank with the bone is served per person. It is a very flavourful cut of meat.
A tender and flavoursome cut, it is also expensive and it is suitable for dry heat cooking such as roasting or grilling. This cut has a layer of fat which, although it can be trimmed down, is best left on when roasting as it melts and bastes the meat during cooking. Racks are not large pieces: one rack of lamb is usually large enough to serve three people.
Individually cut from the loin, small and succulent. Best cooked under the grill.