Norwegian: Tørrfisk

Stockfish is a dried cod product that is source of great national pride in Norway. It has played an important role in our history for more than thousand years, providing our Viking ancestors with much needed sustenance during their epic voyages. Stockfish is mentioned in Egil’s Saga and even Leiv Eiriksson was said to have had supplies of the dried fish with him when he discovered America.

Stockfish is our longest sustained export commodity. To this day, we make it using the same methods and the same special ingredient – our nature.

Made by nature

Stockfish is a world class delicacy and an important part of Norway's cultural heritage. The climate in Northern Norway is perfect for creating stockfish - with temperatures of around 0°C and just the right balance of wind, sun and rain. A subtle change in weather conditions can affect the product, which is why only stockfish from Norway tastes like it should - mild and with a firm texture that holds even after soaking.

Two men hanging the stockfish on stocks

Step one: Preparing

The cod is dried on vast open-air timber racks, which we call "stocks" - hence the name "stockfish".

Step two: Fresh air

Stockfish from Norway is matured by nature itself. Between February and May, Northern Norway has the best climate in the world to dry fish.

Stockfish on a drying rack, winter landscape in the background
Stockfish arranged in high stacks

Step three: Maturation

After around 3 months, we move the stockfish inside to mature. It’s left in this dry and airy environment for up to 12 months. Just as with wine, each year has its own unique taste and flavour.

Step four: Sorting

Sorting the fish might not seem like an important job, but it requires skills that are acquired over many years. The grading experts are able to quickly sort the stockfish according to size, quality, thickness and even aroma. In fact, there are more than 20 different classifications of stockfish.

Four whole stockfish with different qualities

No preservatives, just the power of nature.

The catch is key

Creating delicious stockfish requires the very best in raw materials. Luckily, Norway has some of the largest cod stocks in the world. Between February and April, the entire coastline comes alive. Shoals of millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds near Lofoten on the northern coast. 

The fishermen make the most of the abundance of high quality cod, swiftly taking their nets to the seas and drying as much of the ‘white gold’ as they can to preserve its delicious texture and flavour. 

Millions of fish make their way from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds near Lofoten.

Infographic showing three fish hanging in a string

The fishermen make the most of the abundance of high quality cod, drying a fair share.

Stockfish can also be produced from saithe (pollock), tusk and haddock.

Strict controls

Stockfish is one of our nation’s most famous dishes, and so we are passionate about its quality. Throughout the season there are a number of inspections at the drying racks to make sure that the stockfish is on track.

Stockfish from Lofoten has even been awarded Protected Geographical Classification in the EU, putting it in good company with other national delicacies, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Champagne.

Soaking stockfish

The drying process removes much of the water content in the fish, so stockfish must be rehydrated before cooking. Follow these simple instructions for delicious stockfish every time.

Stockfish cuts in bowls with water

Step one: Soak

Place the stockfish in clean, cold water (2-4°C). Change the water at least once a day.

Image showing skin being removed from a stockfish fillet

Step two: Create portions

After soaking for 2-3 days you should be able to cut the fish into portions, although this will depend on the thickness and texture of the fish. The skin can also be removed during the soaking process.

Stockfish in a bowl with water

Step three: Patience

If the stockfish has passed through rollers, soak for 2-4 days. Whole fish will need to be soaked for 7 days..

Rehydrated stockfish

Step four: Ready to cook

Stockfish has a soft consistency when it is ready to cook. It will also be more than double its original weight!

In some markets it is possible to buy ready to use stockfish products, which have been pre-soaked and can be cooked with right away.

Packed with protein

Stockfish is a completely natural product. It's produced without any additives and is full of healthy nutrients. In fact, nutritionally speaking, one kilo of stockfish is as beneficial as 5 kilos of fresh fish.

One big weight with stockfish, five smaller weights with cod

Dried stockfish is one of the best sources of protein on the planet - in fact one kilo of stockfish has as much protein as 5 kilos of fresh cod.

Three happy emojis

The drying process removes the water content, but leaves all of the nutrients. So, in addition to lots of flavour, your customers can benefit from high levels of vitamins, iron and calcium.

Frequently asked questions

Norway's fish industry operates in accordance with EU food safety legislation. Our Food Safety Authority is responsible for checking food safety, recommending new measures and drawing up regulations. The Scientific Committee for Food Safety is responsible for conducting risk assessments. 

Yes – in fact it’s encouraged. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that women eat more seafood while pregnant. 

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety has concluded that it is safe to eat sushi while pregnant, so this extends to raw stockfish. If you are preparing raw fish, make sure that the cooling chain has not been broken during transportation. You must freeze the fish first to kill any parasites.