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Pickled Herring

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Pickled herring is a delicacy in Europe, and has become a part of Baltic, Scandinavian, German, Eastern Slavic and Jewish cuisine. Most cured herring uses a two-step curing process. Initially, herring is cured with salt to extract water. The second stage involves removing the salt and adding flavorings, typically a vinegar, salt, sugar solution to which ingredients like peppercorn, bay leaves and raw onions are added. In recent years also other flavors have been added due to foreign influences. However, the tradition is strong in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany. Onion, sherry, mustard and dill are some of the traditional flavourings. Very small quantities of the exotic flavourings are sold.

In Scandinavia and Germany, once the pickling process is finished and depending on which of the dozens of classic herring flavourings (mustard, onion, garlic, lingonberries etc.) are selected, it is eaten with dark rye bread, crisp bread, sour cream, or potatoes. This dish is common at Christmas, Easter and Midsummer, where it is eaten with akvavit (Scandinavian schnapps).

Pickled herring is common in Russian cuisine, where it can be served as simple as just cut into pieces seasoned with sunflower oil and onions, or can be part of herring salads, which are usually prepared with vegetables and seasoned with mayonnaise dressing.

Pickled herrings are common in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, perhaps best known for forshmak salad known in English simply as "chopped herring". In Poland it is known as "śledzie".

Pickled herring can also be found in the cuisine of Hokkaidō in Japan, where families traditionally preserved large quantities for winter.

Rollmops are pickled herring fillets rolled (hence the name) into a cylindrical shape around a piece of pickled gherkin or an onion. The word is borrowed from the German.

Pickled Herring is one of the twelve dishes served on Ukrainian Christmas Eve.

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