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What's in Season - March

What's in Season - March

What’s in Season - March

Seasonal eating means two things, really: building meals around foods that have just been harvested at their peak - and adjusting your diet to meet the particular health challenges of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. 

While it may seem like a luxury to have any food we want, anytime we want it, eating foods in season offers many benefits.
Simple joys 
For starters, it connects us to the calendar reminding us of simple joys - the first taste of Asparagus in Spring, the smell of ripe Strawberries newly picked in Summer, Apple picking on a clear Autumn day, celebrating Winter holidays with hearty, warming meals

Tastes Better
In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter - when perfectly ripe. 
When fruits and vegetables are picked for consumption that have been naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at the right time, they will have much more flavour and nutrition.  

More vitamins, minerals and antioxidants 
Produce eaten at its peak generally has more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than foods harvested before they’re ripe and then shipped long distances. 

Eat a more well-rounded and balanced diet 
A pleasant added benefit of eating what's in season is that you get a broader variety of foods in your diet. Those foods can broaden your palate, for one, but they may also expose you to dishes and ingredients you may not have otherwise explored. 
Supports small and midsize Farmers
Eating seasonally often means eating locally grown foods, so it’s good for the environment too. It supports small and midsize local farmers, cuts down on pollution from shipping and transporting food and reduces your carbon footprint. 
Saves you money 
And if all that’s not enough to get you to make some simple switches in your diet, - In-season foods will usually save you money.

Time to eat Seasonal
Each meat, fruit or vegetable has a prime time when it is at its seasonal best - and they tend to complement each other. That means extra flavour, extra crunch, extra juiciness - all super-fresh and great value. 
And so here is what is in season - and most popular - in March to help you eat seasonally: 

Leaves and Stems : Spring Green Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Chicory, Kale, Kohlrabi, Pak Choi, Sorrel, Spinach, Radicchio, Wild Nettles, Wild Garlic
Flowers, Fruits and Seeds : Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower
Roots and Bulbs : Carrots, Celeriac, Leeks, Onions, Parsnip, Salsify, Shallots, Swedes, Turnips

Tubers :
 Jerusalem Artichokes, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes

And here is just a summary of the main Meat Cuts that become popular in March:

Thrifty Cuts : Bavette Steak, Rolled Brisket, Salt Beef, Braising Steak, Shin of Beef, Beef Meatballs, Lamb Breast Roulade, Breast of Lamb, Chicken Breasts, Hand Diced Chicken, Chicken Plum Parcels, Chicken Lemon and Coriander Parcels, Toulouse Sausages, Gluten Free Cumberland Sausages, Shoulder of Pork Boneless, Mini Porchetta with Chorizo, Belly of Pork, Pork Mince, Pigs Cheeks, Tame Rabbit, Bacon Knuckles   

Roasts, Casseroles and Stews : Beef Picanha, Carvery Rib of Beef, Topside of Beef, Silverside of Beef, Carvery Leg of Lamb, Rack of Lamb, Shoulder of Lamb, Mini Leg of Lamb, Otter Valley Organic Chicken, Special Reserve Chicken, Leg of Pork, Shoulder of Pork, Porchetta with Chorizo, Whole Duck, Marrowbones

With all those hearty meals being prepared - freshly made Beef and Chicken Stocks retain their popularity with Beef Dripping now joining them

Seriously Low and Slow : Beef Short Ribs (Jacobs Ladder), Oxtail, Ox Cheeks, Lamb Shanks, Lamb Middle Neck, Unsmoked Gammon, Venison Saddle Eye, 
Beef Marrowbones, Pork Caul

Every month we pick out one Seasonal product and explore a little more about how best to prepare it 

This March we feature New and Spring Lamb

March traditionally heralds the beginning of Britain’s highly prized new-season of Spring Lamb. 
Spring Lambs produce tender meat but the flavour and texture can vary massively according to breed, age, feed and pasture and provenance of the meat.

Opinions are divided 
Opinions are divided on Spring Lamb between those that adore the delicate and tender, sweet flavoured pink meat of Spring Lamb - and those that prefer the stronger flavours of Hogget or Mutton’s more pronounced taste - that have been matured longer - grazing on lush pasture for their meat to develop much more stronger meaty flavours.

Spring Lamb for Easter 
Others would not be without their delicate Spring Lamb for Easter - but also enjoy the stronger Lamb’s flavours as the animals develop and mature and become Hogget

What is the difference between Spring Lamb, Hogget and Mutton?
A Lamb can be aged from four months to a year old so long as it doesn’t have incisor teeth. Any older and the animal is sold as Hogget or Mutton. Hogget are juvenile Sheep with two permanent incisors, once they have more teeth they become Mutton. 

Wait a little longer 
Early in the season, you are likely to get indoor-reared Lambs, fed mostly from their mother’s milk or, more probably, concentrated feeds. 
Wait a little longer and you’ll have a better chance of sourcing Lamb raised on lowlands or hills. These animals have more exercise and access to fresh grass and moorland plants, which add flavour to the meat.

The sweetest and tenderest Lamb
Traditionally, Lambs were born in late winter so they could eat the new grass as soon as they'd finished their mother's milk. So, traditionally, the sweetest and most tender is Spring or new Lamb 
"Spring" means an animal born in the same year, and slaughtered at about four or five months old, often in time for Easter Sunday lunch. 
But New Lamb bought as early as Easter will have been born in midwinter, and "finished" on a diet of hay or a cereal-based manufactured feed. (or shipped semi-frozen from New Zealand)

Lamb is the simplest of the red meats and the most versatile. 

Modern science and more casual taste-testing says that what an animal is fed on, especially in the last few weeks of its life, does make a huge difference to flavour.

The flavour of Lamb improves immensely 
The flavour of Lamb improves immensely if it is hung – ideally for about a week. 
Lamb bones should be pink in colour. 

Cherry Ribs
The Rib bones from the middle of the carcass are good examples of this. Known to the butcher as ‘cherry ribs’, they are bright pink when the Lamb is young. As the animal gets older, the bones lose their pinkness and become whiter.

"Wet-aged" Supermarket Lamb 
Supermarket Lamb is by and large "wet-aged" by being vacuum-packed immediately after slaughter. We do it differently, as you might hope - and there's a marked effect on taste and tenderness. 

Some cooking tips
At the start of the season when the Lambs are very small, the key rule is to make sure you don’t overcook the meat.

Tender cuts of Lamb
Tender cuts of Lamb (Loin, Fillet and Rack) are truly best served pink- or medium rare - and rested in a warm place for 15 minutes before eating. This resting is important (as it is for all meat cooking) as it lets the meat settle and prevents the blood from coming out of the meat once sliced.

Pink in the middle 
Many like to brush Lamb Loins with a mixture of sesame and olive oils and a little soy sauce (instead of salt) and pan-fry until browned all over, then finish in the oven at 170°c until pink in the middle. 

Remember to rest 
You can test it by slicing into the middle of the Loin halfway and seeing the colour (it should only take about 4 minutes). Remember to rest it after cooking in a warm place, not so it will continue to cook, but to relax.

Working Cuts of Lamb
The Lamb’s working muscles (Leg, Shoulder and Neck) need more cooking as they can be a bit chewy if served too rare, so never cook these less than medium.
You could make a stew from Leg of Lamb, but to be honest we would recommend making that from Hogget where the flavour and texture are more pronounced.
However if you are set on a Spring Lamb Stew then have a look at Rachel Khoo’s recipe below

Roasting a Leg of Lamb 
Roasting a Leg of Lamb, with little added flavour, is the best thing to do with it - brushed with Olive oil into which you’ve mixed chopped Thyme and Rosemary and a few Chilli flakes. Or use a thin sharp knife to poke in slivers of sliced Garlic then brush with butter and Sea salt for a lovely meal.

So having looked a bit more closely at Spring Lamb here a few March recipe ideas that feature many of the above March Seasonal ingredients listed above - to get you thinking

• Lamb Rump with Wild Garlic, Anchovy & Pea Purée 
- by  Alan Murchison
Lamb Rump is an underrated yet supremely tasty cut. In this recipe, Alan Murchison teases out all of its qualities - serving with a Pea Purée, Anchovies and Wild Garlic
Preparation/Cooking time : 60 mins.
 Click here for Lamb Rump Steaks

(Click title for recipe)

•   Barbecued Leg of Spring Lamb - by Emily Watkins
Emily Watkins' Leg of Lamb recipe shows that putting in a little extra effort can take a dish to the next level. She uses a Salt cure imbued with Juniper, Pepper and Rosemary, drawing some of the moisture out of the meat and leading to a greater intensity of flavour. 
Preparation/Cooking time : 1 hr 30 mins, plus 12 hrs marinating time
. Click here for Carvery Leg of Lamb, Leg of Lamb Boneless
(Click title for recipe)

• Chargrilled Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde & roasted Beetroot 
- by Robert Thompson
This recipe is utterly simple and marvellous to make. The Lamb Leg is chargrilled on a hot pan after marinating and then served with a flavourful Italian-style Salsa Verde. Roasted Beetroot adds wonderful colour to this recipe. 
Preparation/Cooking time : 1 hr 30 mins, plus marinating time. 
Click here for Leg of Lamb Boneless 
(Click title for recipe)

Lamb Rack with Sheep's Yoghurt, pickled Courgette & Mint Salsa Verde - by Greg Cook 
This stunning recipe is full of bright colours. The tartness of a fresh Mint Salsa Verde and dried Tomatoes balance out the rich Lamb Rack and Croquettes beautifully.
Preparation/Cooking time : 2 hrs 30 mins, plus an extra 4 hrs for the Tomatoes, and overnight straining time for the Yoghurt. Click here for 
Rack of Lamb, Breast of Lamb 

(Click title for recipe)

Herb-crusted Lamb Rump - by Pierre Koffmann
Regal herb-crusted Lamb Rump served with Butternut Squash and Root vegetables, makes a gratifying main for a cold day. A wonderful dish to serve for Sunday lunch. Goes equally well with summery ingredients like roasted Fennel, Courgettes or Tomatoes in the warmer months
Preparation/Cooking time : 1 hr 30 mins. 
Click here for Lamb Rump Steaks
(Click title for recipe)

Slow-braised Shoulder of Lamb with Onions, Thyme & Balsamic - by Tom Aikens
This hearty slow cooked Lamb Shoulder recipe, with its creamy mashed Potato pairing, makes a wonderful and rustic Lamb dinner. Slowly braising the Lamb Shoulder in a rich sauce ensures that the meat's full, immense flavour is drawn out
Preparation/Cooking Time : 8 hrs.
 Click here for Shoulder of Lamb Bone In
(Click title for recipe)

•  Best Roast Leg of Lamb - by Jamie Oliver
A classic Springtime Sunday lunch with proper homemade Mint Sauce - with no fuss and masses of flavour - perfect for Easter. 
Preparation/ Cooking time : 1 hr 35 mins plus resting time. 
Click here for Carvery Leg of Lamb
(Click title for recipe)

Spring Lamb Stew - by Rachel Khoo
Forget your winter Boeuf Bourguignon, it’s so last season! Navarin d’agneau Printanier, a Lamb Stew with fresh vegetables, is what should be bubbling away in your kitchen in Spring 
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time 1 to 2 hrs. 
Click here for Lamb Neck Fillets
(Click title for recipe)

Rump & Rib of Lamb with Wild Garlic Risotto & Fava Beans - by Shaun Rankin
This Lamb with Wild Garlic recipe is at its glorious best during Spring, when all of the ingredients are seasonal. With a few tweaks, though, it can be enjoyed all year round. 
Preparation/Cooking time : 2 hrs, plus 2 hrs setting time. Click here for
 Rack of Lamb, Lamb Rump Steaks

(Click title for recipe)

Warm Salad of Spring Vegetables with Griddled Lamb  - by Barney Desmazery
This warm, dressed Salad is delicious on its own, but if you need a bit more bite, grilled Lamb is the perfect choice. Easily halved
Preparation time 30 mins : Cooking time 15 mins. Click here for
 Lamb Loin Chops
(Click title for recipe)

Slow-cooked Beef Shin with Quinoa, Wild Garlic & Parmesan - by Alyn Williams
Beef Shin is a much under used cut, yet it has fantastic flavour when slow-cooked. and melts in the mouth when served. Pair it with fragrant Wild Garlic and savoury Parmesan, on a bed of Quinoa which is cooked in much the same as a Risotto to give a luxuriously creamy finish.
Preparation/Cooking time : 1 hr 30 mins, plus 8 hrs braising. Click here for
 Beef Shin on the Bone, Fresh Chicken Stock

(Click title for recipe)

Braised Barbecue Beef Short Ribs - by Jason Atherton
Make the spice mix and barbecue sauce ahead of time, and this recipe will be easy to prepare on the day.
Preparation time over 2 hrs : Cooking time over 2 hrs. Click here for
 Beef Short Ribs

(Click title for recipe)

Steak Panzanella Salad with Roasted Lemons - by Sophie Godwin
Bavette with sharp, sweet roasted Lemons and crisp, spiced Pitta bread makes a hearty meal that will satisfy even salad-phobics
Preparation time 15 mins : Cooking time 20 mins. Click here for
 Bavette Steak

(Click title for recipe)

Stir-fried Chicken and Broccoli with Noodles - by James Martin
Stir-fries are very flexible - throw in whatever vegetables you like into this easy sweet and savoury Chicken supper.
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time 10 to 30 mins. Click here for
 Chicken Breasts, Chicken Thighs

(Click title for recipe)

Southern-fried Chicken & Coleslaw - by Antony Worrall Thompson
To make the best fried Chicken, marinate the Chicken Thighs overnight in buttermilk. The result will be juicy, succulent Chicken pieces with a crispy, peppery coating.
Preparation time overnight : Cooking time 10 to 30 mins. Click here for
 Chicken Thighs
 - ask us to skin them for you
(Click title for recipe)

Tender Duck & Pineapple Red Curry - by Barney Desmazery
This slow-cooked Curry improves if made up to two days ahead, perfect for relaxed entertaining. Freezable
Preparation time 20 mins : Cooking time 2 hrs. Click here for
 Ducks Legs

(Click title for recipe)

Pork Belly with Apple Purée & Sprouting Broccoli - by Simon Hulstone
Pork belly has become a fixture on many menus and its success can be put down to its intense, umami flavour and crispy crackling. This recipe brings the best out of the cut, serving with a swoosh of Apple Purée and Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Preparation/Cooking time 3 hrs, plus 2 days Pork salting and pressing. Click here for
 Pork Belly Bone In

(Click title for recipe)

So there you have it - Spring Lamb and Beef Recipe ideas for March using seasonal ingredients - with sometimes a delightful symbiosis of seasonal meats, fruits and vegetables - all on the same plate - just as nature intended! 

Enjoying all the benefits
Now armed with all that information - what is stopping you to start eating seasonally and enjoying all the benefits that come with the healthier approach that each month has to offer?

So whether you choose one of the recipes above - or are just inspired to explore further recipes we hope we have given you much food for thought for your new March Seasonal meals

Give it a Click 
So why not give it a Click -  and experience a whole new way to enjoy Godfreys Seasonal Free Range Premium Meats and Poultry by ordering from the comfort of you own home - at a time that is convenient to you 

We do the rest - be it if you would prefer delivery direct to your door Nationwide - or at our Click and Collect Points in Highbury or Finsbury Park.  

Bon Appétit!
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