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Quail Eggs: Health Benefits, Recipes & More

Quail Eggs: Health Benefits, Recipes & More

Quail eggs are delightful, with their pretty speckled shells and miniature size. But these little beauties aren’t just good to look at, they make great eating too. They’re delicious and nutritious and may even have some pretty incredible health benefits.

In this article, you’ll discover all there is to know about quail eggs and hopefully more besides! Let’s get started.

Key Points about Quail and Their Eggs

  • Quail eggs have some scientifically studied health benefits
  • Quail are easy to keep birds needing little space
  • Producing eggs could become an extra income source

The History of Quail Eggs

There are two families of quail, Old World Quail Phasianidae, which includes 95 species and subspecies, and New World Quail Odontophoridae, which has 43 species and subspecies.

Quails were initially kept as songbirds by the Chinese and then exported to Japan in the 11th century. The wild birds were also caught by the Egyptians and used for meat. This was something that also became popular in Japan after a Japanese Emperor was supposedly cured of Turburculosis after eating quail meat.

It was these tamed Japanese birds that became known as Japanese quail and are the forefathers of the most popular birds uses for egg production today, Coturnix Japonica.  

Significant amounts of quail farming for eggs are carried out in Europe, America, and Asia, but the greatest number of quail eggs are farmed in China, Japan and Brazil, where they enjoy immense popularity.

Quail eggs

Egg Appearance

In general, quail eggs are about a quarter of the size of a regular chicken egg. They are quite adorable, having a cream or beige base color with irregular brown, black and blue patches and speckles all over.

Nutritional Value of Fresh Quail Eggs

A single quail egg weighing 0.317 ounces (9 grams) contains these approximate nutritional values:

  • Calories: 14
  • Protein: 0.035 ounces (1 gram)
  • Fat: 0.035 ounces (1 gram)
  • Carbohydrate: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Riboflavin: 6% of the recommended daily amount (RDA)
  • Vitamin B12: 6% RDA
  • Selenium: 5% RDA
  • Choline: 4% RDA
  • Pantothenic acid: 3% RDA
  • Folate: 2% RDA
  • Vitamin A: 2% RDA
  • Iron: 2% RDA
  • Phosphorus: 2% RDA

It’s surprising how such a small egg can provide so many valuable nutrients combined with so few calories.  

Quail Eggs: Health Benefits, Recipes & More 4

Potential Health Benefits

What are the benefits of quail eggs? Aside from their vitamin and mineral content, quail eggs have been studied due to their apparent ability to alleviate the severe inflammation caused by some food allergies called eosinophilic esophagitis.

Quail eggs are also full of antioxidants which are highly beneficial and may help to reverse cellular damage.

One study looked at people with allergic rhinitis (nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing). After taking a zinc supplement and a quail egg antioxidant, their symptoms showed improvement within one hour.

It may seem bizarre, as chickens are well associated with salmonella, but quail eggs have been seen to contain unique anti-salmonella antibodies. Research into this is ongoing.

The same study also showed that “Quail can be regarded as a valuable and inexpensive source for producing large-scale specific antibodies that can be used for immunodiagnostic and immunotherapeutic purposes.”

Although this type of research is still in its infancy, it seems incredible that something as small and simple as a quail’s egg should have so many amazing possibilities.

Despite all the good things quail eggs can do, there are a few reasons to also be cautious. Depending on where you get your quail eggs, they may not be pasteurized. Pasteurization is a method of heat-treating the eggs to destroy any harmful bacteria on the shell. Even some store-bought eggs can be unpasteurized.

Unpasteurized eggs can pose a potential threat to pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems. The eggs must be cooked thoroughly until the yolk is hard to destroy any harmful bacteria before consumption, just like any other type of egg.

If you are allergic or have a sensitivity to any other eggs (chicken, duck, goose, etc.), you may also have the same problem with quail eggs. This isn’t always the case, however, as some people with a sensitivity to chicken eggs can eat quail eggs without a problem.

quail eggs

Preparing Quail Eggs for Eating

So, you’ve got a dozen quail eggs from the local market, but now what do you do with them?

Quail eggs are very versatile and can be swapped in recipes to replace chicken eggs (only you’ll need 3 to 4 quail eggs for every chicken egg). They are great boiled, poached, fried, canned, or pickled. The only difference to remember when cooking is to reduce the cooking time.

Boiling Quail Eggs – Placed your eggs into a small saucepan of boiling water. They will take two minutes for soft-boiled, three for medium-boiled, and three and a half for hard-boiled.

A good tip here is not to boil fresh quail eggs as they can be hard to peel. Instead, keep them in the fridge for a week or so and then use them.

Once your eggs are cooked, remove them from the heat. Pour away the hot water and replace it with ice-cold water for a further minute or two. Drain the water and place a lid on the saucepan. Shake it gently to crack the shells of the eggs. Pour in more ice-cold water, just enough to cover them, this will penetrate the cracked shells and make them easier to peel. After a minute or two, you can start peeling the eggs.

Try peeling off the top of the egg, then squeeze it out by pinching between your thumb and forefinger. It should pop out like a perfect white pearl.

Frying Quail Eggs – If you wanted to fry some quail eggs, simply crack three or four into a cup.  Put a non-stick skillet on a low to medium heat, with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, tip the eggs in. Cook for around 30 seconds to a minute until the yolk is how you like it, don’t flip them. That’s it, they’re done.

Eggs

Quail Egg Recipes

These delicate little white gems are perfect for all kinds of recipes. Why not try them pickled, poached, deviled or as egg in a hole? They also make great party foods or appetizers, here are a couple of fun combinations:

Fairy Field

Ingredients

  • Lettuce or other salad leaves such as rocket or watercress
  • 12 quails eggs
  • 6 firm cherry tomatoes
  • Tablespoon of sesame seeds
  1. Shred about ½ crisp lettuce into thin strips, or use other salad leaves such as rocket or watercress. Arrange on a plate and flatten out.
  2. Boil the quail eggs for three minutes and peel. Place them around the plate on top of the salad leaves.
  3. Now take the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Remove some of the tomato seeds to make a hollow.
  4. Next, use a knife with a sharp tip to pierce a series of small holes all over the skin of each tomato.
  5. In each tiny hole you’ve made, place a sesame seed, pointed end first, so the rounded end pokes out slightly.
  6. Finally, place the cherry tomato half on top of the quail’s egg.  Once you’ve done the same thing to all of them, they will look like a field of Forest Mushrooms or a Fairy Field.  You can dress with a salad dressing of your choice and serve cold.

Baked Mushrooms With Quails Eggs

  • 12 Cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms
  • 12 quails eggs
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons of Sriracha chili sauce (optional)
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

For thousands more ideas of how to transform your quails eggs into a feast take a look here

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Clean the mushrooms by wiping them gently.
  3. Carefully remove the stalks without breaking the caps. You can use the stalks for making stock or soup.
  4. Place the mushroom caps, bottom-up, on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  5. Season them with salt and pepper.
  6. Crack a quail egg into each mushroom.
  7. Place the baking sheet into the oven. Roast for approximately 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked how you like them.
  8. Place a skillet over medium heat, add the butter and oil, and swirl until the butter melts.
  9. Add the garlic and scallions. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Be careful not to let the garlic burn.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the mixture over the stuffed mushrooms.
  11. Add a dash of Sriracha (or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper) and serve immediately.

Cakes & Pastries

You can substitute chicken eggs with quail eggs to bake your favorite cakes and pastries. Simply add three quail eggs to replace a medium-size chicken egg and four for a large chicken egg.

How do Quail Eggs Taste? Are they Better than Chicken Eggs?

As far as taste is concerned, Quail eggs are very similar to chicken eggs, just a little richer in flavor. They have a higher yolk to white ratio and contain more nutrients weight for weight than chicken eggs.

Cost of Quail Eggs and Where to Find Them

If you’re wondering where to buy quail eggs and if they are expensive, here are some tips to help you get the best deals.

You can purchase Quail eggs direct from a local egg producer, which is generally the least expensive method. Prices usually range from around $2.00 to $5.00 for a dozen. You can also find quail eggs in most major supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and specialty food stores. The prices here will be higher, typically between $4.00 and $8.00 for 12, although they can sell for $10.00 or more in more luxury food stores.

Like everything else, it boils down to supply and demand. If there is a big demand and only a small supply, then prices will be higher.

Other more surprising places to find quail eggs are on the internet – Amazon, eBay, Craigslist and some Facebook groups advertise them for sale.

Japanese quail

Types of Quail

There are seven species of Quail found in North America. Commercial quail, those farmed for eggs and meat, are generally known as Coturnix or Coturnix Coturnix Japonica, although they can also be called plain Japanese or Pharoah. They are not a native species of the United States but came from Japan’s domesticated birds.

There are many different varieties of Coturnix Quail, which generally refer to their color or the size of the bird, including:

Jumbo Coturnix – A larger, selectively bred bird that is generally used for meat production and can weigh almost 16 ounces.

English White – A smaller bird that can be completely white or with brown spots on its back and head. A feature of this bird is the meat is only white.

Texas A&M – This bird has pure white plumage, is heavily muscled, and produces better meat yields than some other varieties. It weighs between 10 and 13 ounces and, like the English White, it has white meat. It was developed by professors at the Texas A&M University.

Tibetan – A rich dark brown bird, developed by cross-breeding. It has two extended brown genes.

Golden Coturnix – These can either be standard or jumbo-sized. They are sometimes also called Golden Speckled or Manchurian.

Rosetta – Like the Tibetan, this bird was developed by selecting birds with the extended brown gene, except it has one copy instead of two. If you breed two Rosettas together, you get color ratios of 50% Rosetta, 25% Tibetan, and 25% Pharoah chicks.

Tuxedo – By cross-breeding Tibetans to Texas A&M birds, the color pattern of Tuxedo was created. The color variations within this pattern can be a wide variety of those exhibited by Coturnix Quail.

It can be fun cross-breeding different colors of Coturnix Quail and seeing what color variations you get.

Coturnix are great birds for beginners. They’re docile, non-aggressive, and relatively tolerant of human handling. They mature in only five to seven weeks and can begin productive egg-laying and breeding as soon as nine weeks of age.

Quail Eggs: Health Benefits, Recipes & More 5

Caring for Quail

It is understandable that many people assume chickens are a better choice for providing eggs or meat. However, quail do have some advantages over chickens.

  • Quail are easy birds to keep and care for
  • You only require a small area to house them
  • As they are considered game birds, they can be kept in some cities where chickens are not permitted
  • The females are very quiet and can be kept even if you have close neighbors
  • They are cheap to buy and to feed
  • They can lay between 150 to 300 eggs in a year
  • Quail mature fast, so they produce eggs or meat more quickly than chickens
  • Quail do not become broody
  • Quail meat is healthier than chicken meat

When Patrick Daly, animal science and veterinary public health feed mill engineer, answered the question – “how many eggs can a quail lay each year?” This was his response:

“I believe you are speaking of commercially bred and reared layer quails, and if so, the numbers laid can approach your best layer chicken breeds.

Quails start laying at around 7 weeks of age and in their first year can lay up to 300 eggs, although 250 is more realistic. They don’t go broody as easily as hens, but allowing eggs to accumulate will reduce output. In the second and subsequent years, the number of eggs will reduce and end up being about 150 per year.”

Learn more about raising quail in our Backyard Bounty podcast episode: Raising Quail 101 ft. The Urban Aviary

What Quail Like to Eat

Unlike chickens, which are omnivores, quail are granivores, meaning they mostly eat grain and seeds. Around 80% of their diet is made up of grains in the wild, although they do enjoy some insects, worms and even plant matter.

Commercial feeds can consist of grains including oats, barley, wheat, rye and millet, safflower seeds, sunflower seeds, milo and oat grouts.

How to Collect Your Own Quail Eggs

If you keep your own quail, you will need to collect their eggs regularly. Ideally, this should be done daily, although leaving them for a couple of days provided they don’t get wet, or are exposed to the sun. The biggest problem with leaving eggs is that it may attract rats or snakes, which enjoy them as snacks.

Unlike chickens, who like to lay in the same place and build up a clutch, quail have a tendency to just drop an egg wherever they happen to be standing. They also try to hide their eggs by laying them under things or even burying them. This means you may have to do a bit of searching to find them.

If your eggs are collected regularly, they can safely be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of months. The main issue with this is that they can dry out.

If you’re unsure about an egg’s age and want to test it, you can do so just like a chicken egg by floating it in a clear container in cold water. If the egg floats up from the bottom, it’s bad and should be discarded. This is also true of any you collect that are cracked or chalky. Chalky eggs are a sign of calcium deficiency.

Any eggs that aren’t good to eat can be boiled up, crushed and fed back to your quail or chickens.

Selling Eggs for Profit

Depending on where you live, you may be able to sell your eggs directly to the public without a license. If, however, you decide to sell your eggs to a store or a manufacturer, then a license will be required.

It will be necessary for you to find out the legalities regarding this in your own state, by contacting your local Department of Food and Agriculture.

Many states do have Cottage Food Laws, allowing small-scale producers to sell their eggs and other produce. This is due to the increasing demand for organic healthy foods and people wanting to return back to a simple life without being reliant on huge manufacturing facilities.

Taking advantage of these laws means you can sell directly from your home, farmstead, or local farmers’ market. Some people even manage to turn what started out as a side hustle into a full-time job. Although you’d probably need other produce besides just quail eggs to make this genuinely viable.

Conclusion

Fresh quail eggs are a nutrient-packed little nugget, full of flavor and perfect for almost any dishes requiring the use of eggs. Even though they are small they can be substituted in place of chicken eggs in most recipes.

Quail eggs make great party foods and appetizers as they’re so cute and delicious.

Although quail eggs are generally more expensive to buy than chicken eggs, if you decide to keep your own quail, they can be very cost-effective. Quail only need a small space and little feed.

Although there are over 100 breeds of quail worldwide, the best species for egg and meat production is the Coturnix Coturnix Japonica. They are hardy, easy to tame and good egg layers.

Quail can live from 2 to 7 years, depending on their care and living conditions.

What are the benefits of quail eggs?

Quail eggs are also full of antioxidants which are highly beneficial and may help to reverse cellular damage.

One study looked at people with allergic rhinitis (nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing). After taking a zinc supplement and a quail egg antioxidant, their symptoms showed improvement within one hour.

Are quail eggs expensive?

You can purchase Quail eggs direct from a local egg producer, which is generally the least expensive method. Prices usually range from around $2.00 to $5.00 for a dozen. You can also find quail eggs in most major supermarkets, farmers’ markets, and specialty food stores. The prices here will be higher, typically between $4.00 and $8.00 for 12, although they can sell for $10.00 or more in more luxury food stores.

Can you fry quail eggs?

If you wanted to fry some quail eggs, simply crack three or four into a cup.  Put a non-stick skillet on a low to medium heat, with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, tip the eggs in. Cook for around 30 seconds to a minute until the yolk is how you like it, don’t flip them. That’s it, they’re done.

How many eggs do quails lay per day?

When Patrick Daly, animal science and veterinary public health feed mill engineer, answered the question – “how many eggs can a quail lay each year?” This was his response:

“I believe you are speaking of commercially bred and reared layer quails, and if so, the numbers laid can approach your best layer chicken breeds. Quails start laying at around 7 weeks of age and in their first year can lay up to 300 eggs, although 250 is more realistic. They don’t go broody as easily as hens, but allowing eggs to accumulate will reduce output. In the second and subsequent years, the number of eggs will reduce and end up being about 150 per year.”

Do quail eggs have salmonella?

t may seem bizarre, as chickens are well associated with salmonella, but quail eggs have been seen to contain unique anti-salmonella antibodies. Research into this is ongoing.

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Quail Eggs: Health Benefits, Recipes & More 6

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