The Swedes Make Train Oil Out of Surplus Herring?? What a Waste!!!
All you need to know about the herring
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 herringVarious 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.
Medieval timesIn 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.