What is Herring (Clupea harengus)?

Herring Herring

Common names for Herring

Atlantic herring, Pacific herring, sardine

Other languages for Herring

  • French name: Hareng
  • Italian name: Aringa
  • German name: Hering

Introduction to Herring

Once upon a time, the lowly herring decided the fates of kings and civilizations. In the 15th century, when herring ceased to breed in the Baltic Sea, the mighty Hanseatic League of Germany and Scandinavia crumbled. Millions of dollars worth of treaties were made to secure herring rights in the New World. However, for many decades in America, beginning with the Boston Irish in the 1880s, herring was exclusively a staple of the working class. The American taste is most familiar with herring in the form of tinned sardines. There are two kinds of herring that are economically significant. The Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus harengus) is distributed across the North Atlantic; the Pacific herring (Clupea harengus pallasi) is found from northern California to Alaska and eastern Russia to Japan. Herring is captured using gillnets, seines, and midwater trawls. In New Brunswick, Canada, and Maine, the fish are also trapped in shore-based weirs. Markets range in size from 5 to 9 inches.

Product profile for Herring

Fresh herring comes in a variety of sizes and flavors, ranging from delicately tasting tiny fish to larger fish with a richer, “oilier” flavor. Otherwise, the flavor and texture of the herring are determined by how it was prepared, such as pickled, smoked, or salted. Whole, fresh herring should be bright and have firm bellies. Large, loosely connected scales cover the whole body. Fresh herring meat is off-white and soft; sardines are light to dark brown in color, with tiny bones showing; and kippers are clear, light meat with no bones.

Cooking tips for Herring

Fresh herring may be cooked in almost any way except poaching or steaming, but well-handled fresh product is hard to come by in the United States. The majority of the herring consumed in this country is canned, pickled, or smoked. Herring is an excellent choice for smoking due to its high oil content, and the mushy flesh of the fish hardens up when pickled in brine. Fresh herring is fried by the Scots after it has been rolled in coarse oats.

Nutrition facts for Herring

Calories: 158 Fat Calories: 81 Total Fat: 9.0 g Saturated Fat: 2.0 g Cholesterol: 60 mg Sodium: 90 mg Protein: 17.9 g Omega 3: 1.6 g

Primary product forms for Herring

Fresh: Whole, Fillets Frozen: Whole, Fillets Value-added: Canned, Smoked, Pickled, Salted

Global supply for Herring

Canada, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Russia, UK, United States, Iran