New Zealand Mutton.
New Zealand is the chief source of the Australasian mutton supply at present, and there is an impression widely abroad that even the best of the New Zealand mutton is far inferior to our own. That this is duo to a want of knowledge of facts of the case, to a lingering prejudice, and a sentimental hankering after something that time has made familiar to ua, there is not much room to question. Neither is there the slightest doubt but that connoisseurs in mutton flavours have been repeatedly deceived by having the imported article served up as best home grown. It is also.said, on what appears to be reliable authority, that the disfavor of imported meat was to some extent I fostered by unscrupulous butchers, who found a lucrative trade in the supply of the best foreign mutton for " renl English." Those who are building false 1 hopes - on the supposed distinct inferiority of Colonial mutton mny prepare before Jong to be undeceived. The process of freezing does not to any extent, if at ail, injure the quality or flavour of the mutton, provided due care is taken in the treatment of it, and of the animals from which it was produced ; and that it is allowed to hang to dry for a few days after thawing before the carcase is cut, to prevent the'escape of juice and the subsequent excessive .shrinkage during the operation of cooking. If this fact were known and admitted, the foundation for the assertion that the meat is distinctly inferior would be done away with, unless in instances in which the animals had been killed when too old or when »oti in prime condition.
With the exception of the mutton produced by the merino breed of sheep, that sent from New Zealand—and by far the larger share of our imports belongs to this class—is produced by a selected number of the favoured breeds of our own country, and not only so, but from the descendants of the best blood that could be bought of these breeds. Let no misapprehension arise on this point. The long-wool and crossbred mutton we get from New Zealand is the produce of the best blood of England, selected from those breeds that are found to thrive best in the conition peculiar to the colony. The system of providing a better supply of winter food as compared with a few years ago is rapidly bringing about a change in the age at which sheep are killed, and will ultimately raise the average quality of the mutton. While wool was the chief product derived from sheep they were kept much older than they would have been had the quality of the mutton been an important consideration. Again, when there is no sufficient supply of winter food, and sheep consequently wastefully decline in condition during the period of scarcity, they require to attain a considerable age before they will take on sufficient condition for the market. It should not be forgotten in passing that the fat of the long-wool breeds is more gross and heavy in flavour when derived from two-year or three year sheep than from those of a year or two younger. At one time few sheep were killed before they were six tooth (two years off), and many of those frozen and sent to this country are no younger even now, but the tendency is to kill at younger ages ("2-tooths" or one year off), when the carcases are not quite so heavy as those of older fdieep, and the quality of the mutton is decidedly superior.—" Weekly Scotsman."
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New Zealand Mutton., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2460, 7 July 1890
New Zealand Mutton. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2460, 7 July 1890
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