The “gutting” of herring
Gutting a herring literally means the removal of part of the guts and gills. The purpose of this procedure is to optimise the flavour (the herring tastes less bitter) and, this way, the herring has a longer shelf life.
The gutting of herring was said to have been invented in the 14th century by Willem Beukelszoon, a fisherman from Biervliet, the Netherlands. In practice, it means the removal of the intestines, but with the exception of the pancreas. Because of the enzymes present in the pancreas, it ensures that the herring ripens further and the taste is optimal.