Red currant, great for pickled herring and snaps

As an appetizer course, the pickled herring is  by far the most popular. And there are as many pickled herring recipes as there are chefs. For summer eating, I love citrus flavor the best. And of course with a matching snaps. The acidity in lime, lemon and orange, goes well with the vinegar when some sugar is added.
A few days back, I had a brief email exchange with Lexi at  Old Ballard Liquor Company, she was updating me about her new aquavit “Skogen”, infused with spruce flavor. I promised her to buy a bottle as soon as I could get to  Seattle WA. I was also telling her about my citrus herring and my gravad lax, and she mentioned that her favorite pickled herring was flavoured with black currant.
Here is the coincidence, I recently found a small bottle of Swedish black currant snaps, “Svartvinbärsbrännvin”, deep back in a storage in my camping trailer.
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Now I just needed to get some fresh black currant berries.
Checking out all possible markets around Port Angeles WA and Sequim WA, the only thing I could find was red currant. So I had to go with that, and also make my own red currant snaps.

Salted herring is also very hard to come by, and a month ago, I bought a 8 lbs bucket at the Scandinavian store in Poulsbo WA. That bucket is empty no, all went into a big batch of citrus pickled herring.

But here is the deal, at Costco you can buy a large jar with onion pickled herring, not bad at all, but nothing I could eat every day either. Just now I happened to have one jar of that herring in the fridge, with a originally sealed lid on it. I decided to use that hering, and re-pickle it in a fresh vinegar mix with some red currant, yellow onion, plus the standard spices of bay leaf, allspice, white pepper and cloves. The star anise also got a main role in this play. The rest of the red currant I let go into a small batch of red currant snaps.

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I did let the red currant infuse in the vinegar for a few days, before I proceeded with the rest of the ingredients. The same with the snaps batch.

3-4 days later I started to add the rest of the ingredients. There was a problem though, the vinegar acidity was quadrupled together with the acidity of the red currant. I had to add some extra sugar into it. And that worked very well.20140727_084202

I did not rinse the Costco herring, I just separated the herring fillets from the original liquid and onion.. After layer spices, onion, red currant berries three times in a couple of pint jars, I poured the red currant vinegar to fill the jars to the top.

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The snaps infusion came out very concentrated, and I had to add 200% more vodka to it. The acidity was still way to dominating. It took me some “lab work” with pipettes and measuring cups, to figure out the right mix of sugar and licorice root concentrate (my home infused of course).

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So now I will let the herring (SILL), infuse for 3 days, before I will taste it. And a few days later it was time. I decide to make a couple of bites with a hard boiled egg, some mayo and my red currant herring. Of course  I had my red currant snaps with it.

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And it was so good, actually better than I expected, with that Costco herring. The snaps became the perfect relief from the acidity in the herring. I could sell this for big $$$…