Drying food is the oldest method of food preservation, and tørrfisk (stockfish), with a storage life of several years, has been one of Norway’s most profitable exports over the centuries, starting in the Middle Ages.
This ancient technique is fascinating and is still in use today. Unsalted Codfish is hung out on wooden racks called “hjell”, and dried by the cold air and wind. The fish is cured/fermented, similar to the maturing process of cheese.
If you’re visiting Northern Norway and see this type of drying rack, I encourage you to stop and take a closer look. I did this past week and was intrigued by this ancient method, so foreign to a woman from the potato state.
And if you happen to remember the Fish Head song by Barnes and Barnes, well it’s been stuck in my head ever since ()