Pickled Herrings

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Floyd on Britain & Ireland

By Keith Floyd

Published 1988

  • About

A favourite fish course, delicious served with brown bread and butter. Salting was the traditional way of preserving herrings when they were plentiful. Be sure to start these at least 11 days ahead.


  • 4 lb (2 kg) salt herrings
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Mixed herbs
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon crushed chillies Dill
  • Black and white peppercorns 6–8 cloves
  • 3 tablespoons allspice
  • 2 pints (1 litres) good-quality malt vinegar
  • lb (625 g) dark brown sugar


Cut the herrings in half, taking out the back fin as you go. Soak the fish in cold water for at least 36 hours.

Chop the herrings into 1–15 in. (2.5– 3.8 cm) pieces and mix well with the chopped onions. Next mix in all the other ingredients except for the vinegar and sugar and leave for 3 hours.

Boil the vinegar and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved completely. Place the herring mixture into sterilised pickling jars and pour over the sweetened vinegar. Leave for 4 days, turning each jar upside down once daily to ensure that the vinegar penetrates all the fish. The herrings can be eaten after 4 days, but improve in flavour if left for longer.