15 Pickled Herring Facts You Probably Never Knew

Written by Yehudah

Hi, this is suddenly the right place for pickled herring facts. Imagine that?

pickled herring

Pickled herring is a dish that goes two ways, either you love it or hate it! The roots of this magical, high-protein treat are Eastern European for sure, but the flavor has caught on far and wide around the world. Here are some cool things you probably never knew about pickled herring:

  1. Herring is actually the name of the fish. It comes from the Culpea family that grows in shallow waters of the Baltic Sea.

pickled herring

2. There are 15 different types of herring fish. All are edible to be smoked, pickled or preserved.

3. Some of the species don’t have spines. This it makes it easier to sell.

4. Pickled herring has been around from the medieval times. You know, when curing and pickling the fish was the only way to preserve the fish and have the capability to last for a long time.

5. If you are buying sardines in a can you are basically buying preserved herring! *Gasp*

6. Pickled herring is a delicacy mainly in northern European countries. It is loved by Ashkenazi Jews as well, and if you go to Boca Raton on a windy day you can smell it wafting through the air.

READ MORE: Kosher for Passover Nutella Recipe

7. Originally pickling the herring was a 2 step curing process. Cure it in salt and then add in the flavors like: vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves and raw onions. Today gourmet herring makers add many more flavors to take the dish out of the 9th century.

8. Herring grow in shallow water and live in schools. That’s what makes them so easy to catch and eat. Suckers.

9. Pickled herring is one of the best sources of natural vitamin D3. It is also an excellent source of selenium and vitamin B12. So basically, pickled herring is the way to go if you want long, shiny hair.

10. There is a traditional Jewish cured fish called lox made out of salmon, it’s not a type of herring! It comes from Norway based on a dish called gravlax which is also delicious but not a type pickled herring, it’s just a pickled fish. Not all preserved fish = pickled herring.

READ MORE: Nice Jewish Guys Calendar (yup, it’s a thing)

11. The most traditional way to eat herring is on something crispy, whether it’s a slice of toast or a cracker. Matzah is acceptable if you’re wondering.

herring on matzah

12. There are two popular types of herring. Type A is the gerring fish that has a white fleshy meat, while there is another called Matias which has a red flesh and no bones. Obviously that’s Type B.

13. Some people like to eat the fish whole, head and all! Clearly we have not evolved as a species. Probably the most disturbing of all the pickled herring facts here.

14. Today if you travel around the world, you won’t find many herring dishes prepared the traditional way. Chefs have made this dish much more approachable and better looking to be more approachable to new foodies.

15. The Russians have done the best with the herring, they make a beautiful salad out of it. The layered salad of diced salted herring is covered with alternating layers of grated, boiled vegetables (potato, carrot, and beet root) and chopped onions. The final layer is beet root covered with mayonnaise, which gives the salad a rich purple color. It’s often decorated with grated boiled eggs. The Russians took the herring game to the next level. You can thank Putin.

About the author


Yehudah Jacobs is a 30-year-old food fanatic, a classically trained chef, and a renowned carnivore. Living in a crazy country where many cultures come together, he has a unique perspective of all kinds of cool cuisines.

Leave a Comment