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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Swedes Make Train Oil Out of Surplus Herring?? What a Waste!!!

All you need to know about the herring

Herring, with the Latin name Clupea Harengus, is one of the species in the Clupeidae family, and the most common fish species on earth. Its name, Harengus, comes from the Latin word arengus, which means sandy.
It is found in large schools on both sides of the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Herrings weigh between 40 and 200 gram, and can reach an age of 25 years; however most live for around 10 years.

The nutritious herring

Various population studies have shown that there is a connection between eating fish, good health, and a long life. In the last few years there has been a lot of focus on the health-bringing properties of herring. This is not least due to the current interest among nutritionists in the composition of different types of fat – where the antioxidant Omega 3 is considered to be especially beneficial to humans. Herring contains very high levels of Omega 3, and may therefore be able to help reduce the risks of some common diseases.

Herring history:

Medieval times
In medieval times, herring was an important international commodity. As the herring was salted, it survived storage and long transports through Europe. The herring also increased in popularity, as fasting rules forbade the eating of meat for two days a week, and for 40 days in a row in the winter.

Traditionally, the local fishing community had produced the train-oil they needed from cod liver and seal meat. The train oil was used in lamps and to impregnate shoes and clothes to make them waterproof. In the mid-1700s, the herring arrived in such huge numbers to the Swedish west coast, there was no way they could use or sell it all, whether fresh or salted. This made it a natural choice to start producing train oil from herring as well. The oil was produced by boiling fresh herring until it fell apart. The fat rose to the top, was skimmed off, and poured into a so called 'clear barrel'. Water and dregs collected at the bottom of the barrel. To begin with, the dregs were poured straight back into the sea, which caused one of Sweden's first major debates about the environment. The train oil from Bohuslän lit up the streets in Paris, and elsewhere.
The herring turned Bohuslän into a Klondike
Sweden has never experienced a gold-rush in the true sense of the word – but there are clear similarities between the Klondike of North America and the Great Herring Period in Bohuslän. When the herring came in, the small fishing communities attracted thousands of fortune-hunters from near and afar. The herring period in the second half of the 18th century was the most important for making Bohuslän into a major contributor to the national resources. According to publications from this time, 50,000 seasonal workers arrived in Bohuslän during this period.

Source: The West Sweden Tourist Board is the legally responsible publisher of this website.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Is pickled herring good for you?

Where knowledge rules

Results so far:
77% 372 votes Total: 482 votes
23% 110 votes


by W. Diane Van Zwol

Created on: July 05, 2008
Pickled Herring: A Good Source Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Vitamin D
Pickled herring is good for you! It is also considered to be a delicacy in many parts of the world, including Scandinavia, Iceland, Holland and Japan, to name just a few countries.
My initial encounter with pickled herring came about when I visited Holland, in the spring of 1967. At the crowded market place in Groningen, in northern Holland, there was a street-side pickled herring stall, where the herring could be purchased and eaten on the spot.
Dozens of tourists and Dutch people, some still wearing wooden shoes, stood in line to buy the delicacy from the elderly Dutch gentleman, behind the counter. With their guilders (the Dutch currency at that time), tightly clutched in their hands, they waited patiently to be served. Then one by one, they would hold their pickled herrings up, throw their heads back and consume them. (I wondered if some people even took the time to chew the herrings!) For me, this was something totally new and different. It certainly sparked my interest in herring!

The herring is a small, oily fish belonging to the genus Clupea. The North Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, North Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean, are all places where herring thrive as huge schools of fish, swimming in the shallow temperate waters. They are generally caught in the spring, as they head towards the shore. (1)
There are approximately two hundred different kinds of herring that have a single dorsal fin lacking a spine. In the Baltic Sea, their size is approximately fourteen to eighteen centimeters in length. These are the ones that I saw when I was visiting Holland. They are much larger in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. (2)
Herring has been a staple food in many countries of the world for over 3000 years.
Pickled herring is only one way that herring is prepared for human consumption. Herring can also be eaten raw, fermented, or cured. (3)
"Why is pickled herring good for you?"
Pickled herring contains Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, as well as vitamin D.
While there is growing concern about PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxin in herring, it appears that as long as the fish are small, or under seventeen centimeters, there does not seem to be a major health risk. If they are larger herring, then limited consumption of herring is recommended. (4)
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in growth and development, heart health and circulation, etc. Vitamin D is important for calcium and phosphorus absorption, bone formation and a healthy immune system. (5)
Perhaps another reason that herring are good for people has to do with the reality that these fish feed on phytoplankton, when they are young. It is filtered through their gills as they swim. Phytoplankton releases oxygen and diminishes carbon dioxide. At this time, there are an increasing number of studies being done on phytoplankton, with respect to human health. (6)
How is pickled herring prepared? The preparation of pickled herring involves a curing process, which uses salt to extract water. Then the salt is removed. In the pickling stage, the flavorings consist of vinegar, salt and a sugar solution, with spices like peppercorns, bay leaves and onions. Other flavorings like mustard, onion and garlic, may also be used. (7)
In Scandanavia, pickled herring is served at Christmas time and Midsummer, with dark rye bread, crisp bread, or potatoes. In Iceland, a pickled herring, or blald, may be given to a child for a holiday treat. The Dutch have a soused herring, or rollmops. The rollmops are pickled herring fillets rolled around a gherkin, or onion and held together with a skewer. The Jewish use pickled herring in a forshmak salad. In Japan, it is in the cuisine of Hokkaido. (8)
While I was In Holland, I was actually quite fascinated by the fact pickled herring were being sold at the street-side stall, in the market place. Gradually, I have come to understand their tradition more fully and realize that to the Dutch, the pickled herring is a very important part of their diet and their economy.
Pickled herring is good for you because of the Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. It was also fun to watch the Dutch people and others enjoy this delicacy in their Groningen marketplace!
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Ibid.
(8) Ibid.


by Jane Allyson

Created on: July 08, 2008
On the whole, many people would all be in agreement that pickled herring is extremely good for you. It is high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin D and it can be found all over the world and is considered to be quite delicious.
However, although the fish itself may be an enjoyable food to eat, and be beneficial to the health, the manner of its preparation may also have adverse affects on certain members of the population.
Pickled herrings contain a compound called tyramine. It is formed during the aging of protein-rich foods and has been linked to certain factors such as headaches and hypertension.
This compound is an amino acid and past research has shown that consuming food containing tyramine, may trigger headaches, caused by a lowering of the serotonin levels in the brain, and interfere with proper dilation of the blood vessels.
With the benefit of modern research, some experts now believe that tyramine is not the villain it has latterly been portrayed to be, however, it doesn't hurt to be on the safe side, and it may be wise to avoid foods such as pickled herrings and other foods containing a high concentrate of tyramine, until test results become much more conclusive.
Certain drugs that are used for depression and Parkinson's disease (known as Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors) can interact with tyramine and cause a rapid acceleration in blood pressure.
It is very important that when taking medication such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and selegiline, that a close eye is kept on the dietry intake. It is absolutely essential that foods such as pickled herrings, cheese, and Chianti wine, are to be avoided when taking MAO inhibitors as it can lead to potentially life threatening situations caused by elevated blood pressure and intracranial bleeding.
The possibility of an interaction between some MAO inhibitors and certain smoked, aged or pickled fish, will depend on the amount of tyramine present. It is important to keep away from foods containing high levels of tyramine during drug therapy and for at least a month after coming off the medication.
So in answer to the question of whether pickled herring is good for you, I would have to conclude that although the health benefits of consuming this delicious fish is well known and widely accepted, there is a certain section of the population that would find it most unbeneficial to eat.

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"ment al disorder." Encyclopdia Britannica from Standard Edition. (2008)