Frederik's Friday Fact

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Friday 08 Jul 2005: Herring
By Eric Arends: As Frederik is enjoying his holiday this Friday I am standing in to provide a Fishy Fact not to disappoint to all FFF followers. The source of this fact is our local fish place where we often get our lunch from. The fact will explain why we (the Dutch) eat our raw herring with fresh onions.
The herring we eat in the Netherlands is caught in the North Sea around June time. The rest of the year there isn't any to catch. That is why the so-called Nieuwe Haring is always introduced on 1st June. All herring is then caught over a period of about two months and packed away in stacks of ice in the freezer. In December one can still eat herring, but it comes from the freezer and can therefore no longer be called Nieuw, it's just herring.
In fact - as a side fact - all haring comes from the freezer, unless it's called Groene Haring, which hasn't seen a freezer and is therefore illegal. Before the invention of the freezer people stored the herring in brine (pekel). By the time people where eating the herring in say February, it had been covered in brine for eight months. This had affected the taste quite substantially - it stank. To disguise the bad taste people used onions and hence a tradition was born.
Today it is not necessary to add onions as the taste of the herring is fine whole year round, but it's just what we do.

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