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Pickled herring and new potatoes – a midsummer classic

Pickled herring, sour cream, chives and new potatoes, with a strawberry tart for dessert. Midsummer food is simple – but so delicious!
A maypole and singing games are also part and parcel of midsummer.
Kristianstad • Publicerad 23 juni 2022 • Uppdaterad 23 juni 2022
Pickled herring and boiled new potatoes are a must at midsummer.
Pickled herring and boiled new potatoes are a must at midsummer.Foto: Lasse Ottosson

We have celebrated midsummer since the Middle Ages, perhaps even from the Viking era. At midsummer we can enjoy the shortest night of the year, full of magic. We dance and have singing games, eat herring and new potatoes - and wash it all down with schnapps.We've been doing this for the past hundred years.

”In their dreams they would see the person they were going to marry.”
Inga-Lill Bengtsson

Young boys and girls used to pick seven kinds of flowers and jump over seven fences without speaking to anyone. They put the flowers under their pillow when they went to bed. In their dreams they would see the person they were going to marry.

Strawberry tart.
Strawberry tart.Foto: Fredrik Samuelson
A cold schnapps along with the herring. There is also a non-alcoholic variety.
A cold schnapps along with the herring. There is also a non-alcoholic variety.

Decorating the maypole with flowers is a tradition from Germany. The word 'may' as in maypole has nothing to do with the month of May. It comes from an old word, maja, which means to decorate, to embellish. That is, to decorate with flowers and leaves.

Since the 18th century we have celebrated midsummer and Christmas with dancing and singing. One of the most popular singing games is 'Little frogs, little frogs look funny'. The song was originally a French military march. The English changed the text to make fun of the French, for whom frogs' legs are a delicacy. Singing about the frogs has become a popular Swedish tradition. Why? That's anyone's guess.

This year we celebrate midsummer on 24th June.
This year we celebrate midsummer on 24th June.Foto: CHRISTINE OLSSON / SC ANPIX

Midsummer lunch

New potatoes. Boil along with a few dill stalks, if you wish.

Sour cream

Pickled herring. There are several kinds, ”matjessill” is traditional.

Chives, finely chopped

To drink: beer is good, and so is schnapps (both drinks come in different flavours, and there are alcohol-free kinds as well).

Strawberry tart.
Strawberry tart.Foto: Tommy Svensson

Strawberry tart

Base - home-baked or bought sponge cake (ready-baked sponge bases are available) and whipped cream

Slice the sponge cake in two or three slices. (Or use the ready-sliced bought variety) . Mash the strawberries and spread them along with some of the whipped cream between the sponge layers. Spread the rest of the cream over the top of the cake and decorate with whole strawberries.

Enjoy. Summer is here.

Midsummer celebrations at Tjörnedala in 1955.
Midsummer celebrations at Tjörnedala in 1955.Foto: Ebbe Palmgren
Inga-Lill BengtssonSkicka e-post
Så här jobbar Mosaik Kristianstadsbladet med journalistik. Uppgifter som publiceras ska vara korrekta och relevanta. Vi strävar efter förstahandskällor och att vara på plats där det händer. Trovärdighet och opartiskhet är centrala värden för vår nyhetsjournalistik.