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Nov 7, 2010 08:52 AM

Marinated Herring, Brands, Sources and Favorites.

I grew up eating herring marinated weekly by my grandmother; mixed w/ sour cream and raw onion, and eaten on corn rye bread. In the ten years I lived in Norway and Finland I ate many types of marinated herring and salted as well. Even a year in the old USSR was herring paradise. In Maine I could find Vita and Skansen and in Portland matjes in dill sauce. I also marinated whole fresh herring myself. When visiting the folks in NJ, I'd haul back a Polish brand in oii w/ onions and ABBA products. Now in Albuquerque I've found an international supermarket, Tallin, where I can get a German brand of roll mop herring in oil and onions and a VERY salty matjes herring in oil. My question is, now at my ripe old age, I finally have access to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Costco. Do these stores carry marinated herring? Other southwest chains? And finally, what are your favorite brands of non-canned herring. (I know there is a thread on canned herring.) Thanks.

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  1. I see that I can also order herring on line. Any recommended sources?
    Nearly time to make herring , beets and whipped cream Christmas Herring Salad!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Passadumkeg

      OMFG - herring salad with red beets!!!! I OD on that every summer when I am in Germany - that, and rollmops, matjes, smoked trout, cured herring....

      I'll send ya my address if you send me a herring xmas present :-D

    2. My Western WA Costco has pickled herring - it's in quart jars, I believe, in the refrigerated prepared meals area. It's in the clear brine, no sour cream.

      One of my best friends talks about that Christmas beet/cream/herring salad. I have to admit, I'm glad my mom chose to teach me my Scandinavian heritage through a zillion kind of butter cookies, rather than that! On the other hand, it sounds utterly festive looking!

      8 Replies
      1. re: Vetter

        I like Costco's brand of pickled herring (big jars with black labels) much more than the Vita brand. Whole Foods has the same black-label brand in much smaller jars. I just don't remember the name of it.

        1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

          the stuff from Costco is the Blue Hill Bay label of Acme. and yes, it's *worlds* better than Vita...though that's not really a difficult thing to accomplish ;)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Thank you!

            We used to get Vita (and occasionally Skansen) herring in sour cream when I was a kid in Miami in the '80s, to go with bagels, cream cheese, and lox for Sunday brunch. In more recent years, I have really been enjoying that Blue Hill Bay brand in wine sauce, but when I tried Vita's herring in wine sauce in a fit of nostalgia, it was incredibly disappointing and paled in comparison. I've had the same big jar of Vita in my fridge for a long time now.

            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

              Veggo & i discussed Vita in another thread. the only time i deigned to eat it was back in college in Atlanta when it was the ONLY option...and even then i don't know that it was worth it. i'm spoiled - i was raised on the good stuff from places like Barney Greengrass & Zabar's in NYC :)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Emory vs. Penn chow... you win!

                1. re: Veggo

                  Veggo, you think ATL had better food than Philly? you're nuts.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I was just trying to be accomodating. I was a regular at Koch's deli and not unknown at Bookbinders and Le Bec Fin (closing soon) after profitable golf hustles at Cobb's Creek in Philly.
                    My last visit to ATL included good eats in Buckhead, and being pelted with eggs by laughing, screaming marauders with good aim as I strolled downtown.

        2. re: Vetter

          I am a loyal Blue Hill pickled herring consumer, but I thought I'd try something new when I found jars of marinated herring in garlic sauce at Ikea. It was surprisingly good and the rich cream sauce was a great change.


          Ma Baensch is a Milwaukee institution. You can order jars of either sour cream & chive or wine marinated online.

          1. If you can spare the change (and the shipping), have a look at NYC's Russ and Daughters--roll mops, pickled herring, schmaltz herring, French herring, matjes herring, cream herring, etc...and excellent herring salad...

            1 Reply
            1. re: penthouse pup

              if we're talking about ordering from NYC, Barney Greengrass and Zabar's need to be mentioned as well :)

            2. What's that you say? Us old folks in Florida are a little hard of herring. All I can get is the Vita pickled or sour cream. I eat copious quantities but I am tantalized to learn that there is even better out there somewhere.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                Veggo, get the one COSTCO carries, it is from Canada and the brand is mentioned by other posters above, it is in wine not sour cream, but one can mix in the sour cream at service.

                1. re: ospreycove

                  Darn. So many are faithful disciples of Costco, but I would have to schlep across the Skyway bridge and its celebrated fishing piers to buy dead fish in a jar?

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Veggo.....hold out for the opening of Costco in South Sarasota.......Early 2011?????

                      1. re: Veggo

                        I can't recall the name of the mall, but it is in Osprey on Tamiami Trail. there was a vacant Dillards in the mall and COSTCO has signed a lease to demolish the space and build a new store with an entrance to the rest of the mall...Great deal for the other well as the landlord!!

                    1. re: Veggo

                      They used to have a great pickled herring at my BJs, it came in a big plastic tub. The brand was Icy Point I think. It ruined me for all others, except house made at fish stores. The 2 lb heavy duty tubs were a nice keepsake too.

                      1. re: coll

                        Icy Point is a label of Ocean Brands, which now packages its herring under the name Nathan's...maybe keep an eye out for it or contact them to find out where to buy it near you?


                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Eeww. I bought Nathans herring at Waldbaums and actually returned it. It had bones in it!!! I mean in every bite, I couldn't handle it. I guess they have different grades.

                          1. re: coll

                            It was their Herring Bone Special.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg


                              @coll, that's a bummer - good thing you returned it. there are often *teeny* soft bones in herring that you can eat with no problem, but they shouldn't have been that noticeable! anyway, i've never had the Nathan's product, just found the info online.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                one of your better...I'll go with houndstooth...

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  I think that's why the Nordic countries do so well in the Winter Olympics, they have perfected the herring bone over the centuries!

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    We are waiting for Eddie the Eagle to get it right next time and kick butt.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Nope The Nuke, Nukkinen, has the herring bone down pat on the 200 m. jump.
                                      I wonder if any of the Nordic Olympic teams have worn herring bone jackets as the national costume????