Is this the smelliest food in the world?
Today’s Video of the Day from the American Chemical Society’s Reactions series explains how Surströmming, also known as the smelliest food in the world, has become a national treasure in Sweden.
Swedish for “sour herring,” Surströmming dates back an estimated 9,000 years. By the 1500s, the fish became a staple in Sweden when the country was at war and salt was hard to come by. Salt was important at this time for preserving food, and there was enough salt in Surströmming to prevent the fish from spoiling.
As the fish ferment in their own bacteria, they produce potent, smelly acids. The gases produced as byproducts in this food preservation process become so strong that they actually swell the can.
Karin Olofsdotter is the Swedish ambassador to the United States. She said that Surströmming is an acquired taste and, though she does not like it that much, it is a fun thing to do to be part of an old tradition.
Video Credit: American Chemical Society