Hollandse Nieuwe (young herring) Every year the herring lives the same cycle. In the months May and June the herring will have fattened enough but not formed any hard or soft roe yet. Herring can acquire plenty of fat in May if the weather is good. Fishermen will watch the weather and temperature closely during this period. Lots of sun will mean lots of food for the herring, so that they will grow nicely. The 'Hollandse Nieuwe' (Dutch New) is the first herring that is caught in season, usually in May. (Selling from june 1st) As soon as the herring has a minimum of 16% fat, it may hit the market as 'Hollandse Nieuwe'. But there are other demands. The herring must be gutted, ripened, salted and filleted in the traditional Dutch way. During gutting, the gills, intestines and throat of the herring are removed. The pancreas remains as it helps the herring ripen. Herring is caught nearly all year long, but not all herring can be called 'Hollandse Nieuwe' or 'maatjesharing' (young herring). During the year, the amount of fat in the herring changes. During these different fat stadia, the uses of the herring changes also. Herring caught in August through October is smoked, marinated or turned into rollmop (rolmops in Dutch). De hard roe of the herring is partly exported to Japan where it is a veritable delicacy. The salting 'cooks' the herring, so it is not truly raw when you eat it, though it looks like it. One can eat chopped raw onion with it, but that's a matter of taste. The traditional manner to eat the herring: with one's head tilted back and mouth gaping open, whereupon the fish is lowered in head-first and swallowed whole. Herring can also be eaten on a bread roll, with or without chopped onions. The vendor will be happy to cut the herring into bite-size pieces for the less daring!