A sheep less than 1 year old, known for its tender meat. Baby lamb and spring lamb are both milk fed. Baby lamb is customarily slaughtered at between 6 and 8 weeks old. Spring lamb is usually 3 to 5 months old; regular lamb is slaughtered under a year of age. Lamb between 12 and 24 months is called yearling; when over 2 years, it's referred to as mutton and has a much stronger flavor and less tender flesh. When purchasing lamb, let color be the guide. In general, the darker the color, the older the animal. Baby lamb will be pale pink, while regular lamb is pinkish-red. Lamb can be purchased ground and in steam, chops and roasts. Lamb variety meats can also be purchased.
Lamb that has been frozen must not at all be defrosted at room temperature because damaging bacteria may ascend quickly under such conditions. The most excellent method for thawing lamb is to place it in the refrigerator where it will melt slowly and safely. A temperature range of 33°F and 40°F is perfect. A large cut of lamb may require 24 to 48 hours to defrost in the refrigerator. The meat should be placed on a plate or dish in order to catch any juices that may drip from the thawing meat and stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. If it is not convenient to wait the necessary time for thawing lamb in the refrigerator, it is probable to thaw the meat in the microwave using the correct defrost setting, but this is certainly not suggested. Lamb cuts should be cooked promptly after defrosting in the microwave and ground lamb must be cooked immediately after thawing. Microwave defrosting should be used just if needed and should not be the thawing way of choice. When thawing lamb, it is easier to cut it into pieces for stew meat or kabobs before it is fully defrosted. After cutting, the lamb can then be refrigerated until it has fully thawed. Fresh raw lamb, which has not been frozen, can be easily cut if it is placed in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.