• Norway's news in English
 

Stinky herring tin to be 'disarmed' after 25 years

The Local · 10 Feb 2014, 16:33

Published: 10 Feb 2014 16:33 GMT+01:00

"If there's any fish left in the can, I'm going to eat it," Ruben Madsen of Sweden's Surströmming Academy told The Local.

Madsen is set to travel to a cabin in the Norwegian mountains next week to help "disarm" a recently discovered can of fermented herring dating from 1990.

Cabin owner Inge Haugen found the forgotten can after peeking under the eaves to find a swelling can of surströmming that had been expanding over the past two and half decades. He reckoned the bulging tin had raised the cabin's roof by about two centimetres.

The find left him concerned that the can might explode at any moment, prompting him to warn his neighbours. Norway's Armed Forces were also notified about the impending "stink bomb".

Surströmming, or fermented herring, is a traditional Swedish delicacy, but its odour is notoriously foul. In the beginning of autumn, it’s not uncommon for Swedes to gather to enjoy the smelly fish at what is called a surströmmingsskiva (fermented herring party).

Such parties are less common in Norway, which boasts its own fermented fish dish, known as rakfisk, which most often consists of trout that has been salted and fermented for several months.

Haugen's wife Bjørg told The Local that the can was forgotten during one particular festive evening back in March 1990 when the couple hosted a party at their cabin, located in Trysil, with surströmming imported from Sweden.

"We had three cans. We ate two and my husband took the third and put it up under the roof, because we had eaten enough. Then he forgot about it," she said. "There's going to be a gruesome smell."

Despite initial fears expressed by Haugen and others, surströmming expert Madsen said the aging can of herring poses no danger to the public.

"There really isn't any risk for an explosion. Of course, some fermented herring might come spurting out when we open it. And yes, it will smell," he said.

News of a "disarmament" event planned for February 18th has attracted wide media attention across Sweden and Norway, with hundreds of people having notified Haugen they plan to attend.

"There are going to be more people there than there were at Barack Obama's inauguration," Madsen said with a laugh before theorizing about what lies behind the "unbelievable" media attention generated by Haugen's quarter-century old can of fish.

"It might be because there is an actual story behind this can of forgotten herring. It might also be that people are craving a simple, positive story."

Madsen explained that he gets "two or three calls a year" from people who have found old cans of fermented herring and don't know what to do with them.

However, the discovery of the can in Norway has the fermented herring aficionado's mouth watering at the prospect of tasting surströmming that's been aged to perfection over the past 25 years.

"I have my own collection of vintage surströmming with several cans that are more than 15 years old," he said.

"The taste certainly gets richer with age. The longer you wait to open a can, the more complex the flora of tastes you get."

Madsen invoked a musical analogy to compare the richness of aged surströmming to that eaten right off the shelf.

"Think of the difference between Wagner and Chopin," he explained.

"With Wagner, you get hit repeatedly with the same tones. But with Chopin, you can hear every instrument, every tone. It's a much more complex sound, which is much like the richer taste you get with an aged can of fermented herring."

Madsen's biggest fear about his upcoming Norway herring adventure is finding there's no fish left in the 25-year-old can.

"The biggest risk is that the fish never stopped fermenting and all that's left is a can of smelly sauce," he said.

But even if there's no fish left in Haugen's herring tin, Madsen plans to bring along a few newer cans of surströmming so the hundreds of onlookers on hand can get a taste for themselves.

"After we open the can it's going to party, party," he said.

DON'T MISS: Sweden's Big Macs taunt Norwegians at border

The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Norway sends convicts to 'luxury' Dutch prison
Norgerhaven is a 'cushy' prison, with good facilities. Photo: Haakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Norway sends convicts to 'luxury' Dutch prison

8 hours ago

Norway on Tuesday sent a group of convicts to a jail in the Netherlands for the first time because its own prisons are filled to the brim.

Video
Swedish girls go very fast down Norway peaks
Ishtar Bäcklund taking a tight corner in the Norwegian mountains. Photo: Screengrab

Swedish girls go very fast down Norway peaks

14 hours ago

Stunning footage of a group of mostly female downhill longboarders riding down the Norwegian mountains has gone viral, pulling in over 190,000 views on Vimeo.

Oslo church wants to remove 22 July memorial
The Oslo church council is adamant that the heart must eventually be removed. Photo: Oslo Church

Oslo church wants to remove 22 July memorial

15 hours ago

Oslo's church council has been attacked for attempting to remove a sculpture commemorating the victims of Anders Breivik's 2011 twin terror attacks.

Norway company turns pine trees into hotdogs
This tasty hotdog could soon be part pine. Photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr

Norway company turns pine trees into hotdogs

16 hours ago

A Norwegian biorefinery company has started turning waste wood fibre into a cream-like fat substitute which it claims can be used to make ice cream, mayonnaise and even hot dogs.

Smokers in Norway 'like Jews under the Nazis'
Geir Finne describes his platform to iTromso newspaper. Photo: Screen Grab

Smokers in Norway 'like Jews under the Nazis'

1 day ago

A politician from a fringe conservative party in the far north of Norway has compared the plight of smokers in the country to that of Jews during the Nazi occupation.

Norwegian arrested for murdering star pianist
Natalia Strelchenko was just reaching her maturity as a pianist. Photo: Natalia Strelchenko website

Norwegian arrested for murdering star pianist

1 day ago

The Norwegian husband of renowned concert pianist Natalia Strelchenko has been arrested by police in England on suspicion of murdering her.

Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum
Christian Democrat leader Knut Arild Hareide on Sunday called on Solberg to suspend the Dublin Regulation.

Norway PM pushed to follow Merkel on asylum

1 day ago

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg is under pressure to follow her German counterpart and stop sending refugees back to the country in which they first arrived in Europe.

Syrians cycled Norway's Arctic border in winter
The Norwegian Customs and border inspection post at Storskog. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/SCANPIX

Syrians cycled Norway's Arctic border in winter

1 day ago

A group of Syrian refugees cycled across Norway's Arctic border from Russia in midwinter, when temperatures reach a low of -30C and the sun does not rise.

Norway prize body to 'empty chair' Snowden
The Norwegian Nobel committee represented Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo with an empty chair in 2010. Photo: Photo: Heiko Junge/Scanpix

Norway prize body to 'empty chair' Snowden

3 days ago

Edward Snowden will be represented by an empty chair next week when he is honoured with a freedom of expression prize in Norway, as he fears extradition to the US, organisers said Friday.

Video
 World's largest outdoor mural unveiled in Norway
"Lilith and Olaf" by French street art duo Ella & Pitr. Photo: Screen Grab

World's largest outdoor mural unveiled in Norway

August 28, 2015

French artist duo Ella & Pitr, and a small army of volunteers, have created what they claim to be the world's largest mural covering the 21,000 square meter rooftop of an industrial estate.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Norway man built secret child's room in cellar
Education
Norway starts school for Vikings
Sport
Sepp Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin
National
The oddest TripAdvisor comments about Norway
National
Experts baffled by freak downpour in Norway
National
Dude, where's my house? Avalanche smashes Norway farmhouse
Culture
VIDEO: Norway artist's naked tree stunt goes awry
Health
Norway scientists find secret behind gluten intolerance
National
VIDEO: Have you seen this jet ski blunder at a Malmö hotel opening?
National
Oslo is the crystal meth capital of Europe
Sport
VIDEO: Man in Norway catches fish too big for boat
International
'Snowden could come to Norway to collect prize'
Technology
Oslo builds world's first bumblebee highway
Culture
World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo
Norway's men soon to be among Europe's fattest
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,112
jobs available