• Sweden edition
 
Swede set to 'disarm' 25-year-old herring tin
The can of surströmming in the picture is not the one mentioned in the article. File photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Swede set to 'disarm' 25-year-old herring tin

Published: 10 Feb 2014 15:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Feb 2014 15:11 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

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Woman suffers cardiac arrest while giving birth
Photo: Tomas Oneborg/TT

Woman suffers cardiac arrest while giving birth

A 30-year-old woman went into cardiac arrest while giving birth at a Stockholm clinic - without hospital staff noticing that anything was wrong. She remains in a critical condition on Friday. READ  

Champions League
History repeats for Malmö fifty years later
Striker Magnus Eriksson during Malmö's 3-0 win over Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

History repeats for Malmö fifty years later

Malmö's entry into the Champions League serves as a reminder of times gone by in European football. With Spain's champions bound for Sweden things just couldn't be better, writes contributor Lee Roden. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven promises jobs to 50,000 young Swedes
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Löfven promises jobs to 50,000 young Swedes

Social Democrat party leader Stefan Löfven announced on Friday his "most important election promise", a 90-day job guarantee programme for young Swedes. READ  

 Sweden to buy fighter jets despite Swiss pullout
The Jas Gripen fighter aircraft. File photo: Wikimedia

Sweden to buy fighter jets despite Swiss pullout

Sweden said Friday it would go ahead with the purchase of a new generation of Saab Gripen fighter jets, despite Switzerland pulling out of a major co-financing deal. READ  

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three people are in hospital after they were stabbed during what police suspect was a gang-related attack in Umeå. READ  

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm police rushed to the scene when a worried Swede reported that their neighbours were the victim of a break-in - but when officers arrived, they found nothing but a ninja in the middle of practice. READ  

Elections 2014
Liberals hint at bringing back conscription
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Liberals hint at bringing back conscription

With Russia becoming "all the more aggressive", the Liberal Party leader and education minister, Jan Björklund, has suggested that Sweden may have to reintroduce conscription. READ  

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Roles were reversed in a bear hunt on Thursday night, when a Swedish hunter was attacked by his prey, leaving the man in hospital in a serious condition. READ  

How immigration became a key election issue
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

How immigration became a key election issue

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt sparked a furore with recent comments that put rising refugee costs in focus before the elections. But why did he bring it up, and will it affect the outcome? READ  

 Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker fails in bid for receivership

A Swedish court has rejected a request from the Chinese-owned automaker NEVS, which owns the financially-troubled Swedish brand Saab, to be placed in receivership until it could attract new financing. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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 Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

759
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se