Surströmming is a traditional Swedish dish consisting of fermented and lightly-salted sea herring. Dating all the way back to the 16th century, this dish has been a true staple in Swedish cuisine. Find out why you need to try Swedish surströmming
Even though nowadays there’s a plethora of fermented fish products that are widely used in dishes all around the world, many people still need some hard convincing to try out Surströmming. One of the most obvious reasons is the fact that a freshly-opened can of Surströmming is known to be one of the most putrid-smelling foods in the world.
That being said, let’s see how Surströmming is being produced and explore some of the most common ways it’s being served.
The production process
In the past, the meat of a sea herring was originally marinated in a weak brine, where it was left until the fermentation process was complete. Nowadays, the fish is first submerged in a strong brine solution to draw out the blood, and then stored in barrels and marinated with a weaker brine to allow fermentation. Although a bit foul-smelling, this dish is entirely safe to eat as the fermentation process is closely monitored. With the help of modern technology and products such as SBT instruments, manufacturers can stay on top of the whole process more easily, ensuring that the necessary fermentation is not cut short. When the time is right, Surströmming is being canned and marketed in shops.
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Preparation and serving
In Sweden, every third Thursday of August is known as “Surströmming day”, which marks the so-called Surströmming season. The season usually lasts until early September, so this part of the year is the best time to try out this dish.
Surströmming is most commonly served on a piece of thin buttered bread called tunnbröd, with potatoes and red onions. The potatoes are usually either mashed or sliced and the onions are finely diced. Sometimes, Swedes add Västerbotten cheese to this dish to help balance out the strong flavor of Surströmming.
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If you’re opening a can of Surströmming on your own for the very first time, you do need to be careful. Due to the fermentation process that’s still happening inside, the built-up gas can cause the brine to spray out of the can. That’s why it’s commonly advised to open a can of Surströmming at an upward angle or even submerge it in the bucket of water, puncture the can and only then proceed to open it.
So, if you’re ever visiting Sweden during the Surströmming season, make sure you try out this delicious dish. Even though it may not sound supper-appealing at the first glance, we promise you that you won’t regret giving it a shot.
Why You Need to Try Swedish Surströmming, is a promotional article from SBT instruments
Feature image (on top): Screenshot from VGTV