The age of a herring is determined in much the same way as the age of a tree - by the number of rings on its scales. It has been established that she lives the longest off the coast of Greenland - up to 15 years.
Until the 15th century, herring was not favored because of the heavy smell of rancid fish oil and an unpleasant bitter taste. It was the food of beggars and monks who humbled their pride and mortified their flesh. King Louis IX the Saint sent her as alms to the lepers.
It is believed that the secret of herring preparation was discovered in Holland. Willem Jacob Boykelzoon, a fisherman from a Dutch village, figured out how to eliminate bitterness. To do this, it was only necessary to remove the gills from the fish. Grateful descendants erected a monument to the fisherman, but it took a long time to reveal the secret of the Dutch. The herring dividers lived apart on the seashore. They were not even recommended to marry: talkative spouses could reveal the secret.
Nowadays, herring is popular in various countries. Norwegians even joke that they eat it twenty-one times a week, that is, three times a day.
For more than 150 years, since 1862, the barrel has been the official unit by which the volume of oil is measured. An ordinary wooden barrel was taken as a sample, in which the herring was transported.
Pereslavl herring from the XIV century was served at the table of Moscow princes. And in the 17th century, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich even issued a decree on the protection of this fish in Lake Pleshcheyevo. Since the number of herring was decreasing, it was forbidden to catch the young. For violation of this decree, the death penalty was threatened.
In 1781, the city of Pereslavl, which then belonged to the Vladimir governorship, received its coat of arms. On it were depicted two herring, as Pereslavl "makes a bargain with this smoked fish." The modern coat of arms of the city was officially approved on February 7, 2002. It also has two herring flaunts.
Moreover, the coat of arms of Pereslavl is far from original. Besides him, this fish is a symbol of many cities in Holland, Norway, Poland and Latvia.
They say that Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev was a great lover of herring. The General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee especially appreciated the fish caught in the Sea of Okhotsk. Brezhnev is even credited with the phrase: "Whoever has not tried the herring of the Sea of Okhotsk, he did not eat herring at all."
Every year, on one Saturday in June, Holland celebrates Herring Day. It was at this time that the new catch of fish came to the port cities. By summer, the herring grows to its optimal size, and its fat content reaches 14 percent. And the first ship to deliver the herring to the port of Schefeningen receives a substantial monetary bonus. There is another ancient tradition - the first keg is presented to the Dutch queen.
Herring is schooling fish. Its shoals sometimes stretch for tens of kilometers. Scientists claim that such a school can number up to three billion individuals. Fish, torn from the school, experience stress and inevitably die.
The American herring shed is the largest of its kind. The weight of this fish is over 6 kg. The Indians of the coastal regions found an original application for it - they heated their homes.
Iwashi herring was popular in the Soviet Union. True, an inaccuracy was made here, in fact - Iwashi is not herring, but sardine. And the salad "herring under a fur coat" is still the most popular holiday treat among the Slavs.
Surstremming is made from herring - a Swedish national delicacy with the most disgusting smell in the world, even worse than the famous stinky fruit durian. In fact, surstremming is a fermented herring.
The herring also left its mark in history. On February 11, 1429, between the French and the British there was a "Herring battle" for a convoy with food in which, because of Lent, there was only herring. The battle had far-reaching consequences. It was his sad outcome for the French that the young Jeanne Darc predicted to the French commander. After that, the girl was invited to a meeting with the king of France.