Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is there any difference between Meat and Mutton?

For centuries goat meat has been enjoyed throughout the Middle East, Asia and in many European countries. In fact, it is one of the most commonly consumed meats in the world.

In India, along with many Eastern Countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore, the term mutton refers to Goat's meat and usually not to sheep's meat. Often, the so-called mutton curries of the Indian cuisine use goat meat when cooked at home, although in Indian restaurants sheep meat is often used. In the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, the word “mutton” is used to describe both goat and lamb meat.

Goat Meat:

In USA goat meat is known as goat meat. But in UK and parts of Europe, goat meat is known as Chevon,
Chevon may be goat from 48 to 60 pounds and 6 to 9 months of age.
Cabrito is meat from very young, milk fed goats between 4 and 8 weeks of age. The meat is tender, juicy and very lean and tasty at this age. The term Capretto comes from the Italian term “kidgoat”.

Sheep Meat:

Lamb, hogget, and mutton are the meat of domestic sheep. Because of dramatically differing economic values of each type of animal (lamb being the most expensive), classification systems have developed to ensure consumers receive the product they have purchased. The strict definitions for lamb, hogget and mutton vary considerably between countries. In New Zealand for example, they are defined as follows:

Lamb — it is a young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear. It has a carcass weight of between 5.5 and 30 kilograms (12 and 65 lbs). This meat generally is tenderer than that from older sheep and appears more often on tables in some Western countries. In certain cuts of meat the younger animal is felt to be more tender and delicate and is therefore more highly valued. Because of the confusion in the usage of the word "lamb" mentioned above, meat from the young animal is often referred to in Australia as "spring lamb" - i.e. meat from an animal born only last spring.

Hogget refers to meat from an animal between one and two years old and with two or four adult teeth. It can be a young male sheep or maiden ewe having no more than two permanent incisors in wear. A common name used in Australia is "two-tooth". It is regarded as being a little tougher than lamb but more flavorful.

Mutton refers to meat from an animal that has passed its second birthday. It can be a female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear. Traditionalists argue that mutton is always the meat from a wether (a wether is a castrated male sheep; it is thought that castration improves the taste of some meats). A more contemporary view is that mutton comes from a breeding ewe (female) that has reached the end of its productive life. It can sometimes be quite tough and generally has more flavor than lamb and hogget.

Hogget and mutton have a stronger flavor than lamb because they contain a higher concentration of species-characteristic fatty acids and are preferred by some. Mutton and hogget also tend to be tougher than lamb (because of connective tissue maturation) and are therefore better suited to casserole-style cooking.

Are Goat and Sheep, same nutritionally?

The taste of goat meat is similar to that of lamb meat.

Nutritionally, Goat meat is lower than mutton in fat and cholesterol. It also has more minerals than chicken, and is lower in total and saturated fats than many other meats. As it ranks right up with chicken and fish in the low fat department, it is being recommended for a heart-healthy diet comparable to chicken.

Chevon is therefore classified as a white meat. One reason for the leanness is that goats do not accumulate fat deposits or "marbling" in their muscles like cows or pigs. Goat leg has the lowest fat content compared to other parts of the goat. It supplies high quality protein along with healthy fat. There is no worry about pesticide or heavy chemical residue as there will be with fish, nor worry about hormones or antibiotics as would be with grocery store chicken.

Most of the fat which is present is external and that can be trimmed easily. Goat meat is one of the best sources of zinc and iron. It also has B group vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin B actually helps to burn fat cells. It has choline and selenium which is known to prevent cancer.

Goat meat is approximately the equivalent in caloric value to chicken and has less than half the calories of beef per serving. This is desirable for persons with a need to reduce their caloric intake. Overall, goat meat is similar in most nutrients to other species, but the cholesterol content of goat meat is slightly higher than beef or chicken.

In the end we can say that Chevon (or goat meat) is rapidly gaining popularity as a low-fat, nutritionally dense meat.

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