One of the important upsides of keeping quail is that you get a daily harvest of clean, fresh eggs.
Nutritionally, they are no different to eggs from chickens – and they can be prepared and eaten in all of the same ways as you do with chicken eggs.
One obvious limitation is that, since about six quail eggs equals one chicken egg, making omelettes using quail eggs takes some time and effort…..but we’ve done it.
As it happens, we generally hard-boil them before using them in salads, soups, sandwiches, canapés, mini-Scotch Eggs – and as casual snacks.
Boiling Quail Eggs
Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Bring to the boil and maintain them there for two minutes. If you boil them for too long, the eggs become tougher and they develop an unsightly black ring around the yolk.
Remove the eggs from the stove and quench them in cold water – then refrigerate.
Shelling quail eggs – the easy way
Removing the shells from hard-boiled quail eggs is tedious at best – and, unless you are careful, will produce more damaged eggs than intact ones.
Place the eggs in a bowl and cover them with white vinegar – for two to three hours. If you leave them much longer than three hours, they will begin to take up the taste of the vinegar and they will be neither fresh nor pickled – not to my liking.
You’ll observe that the vinegar foams as it reacts to the calcium in the egg shells.
After three hours, you’ll notice that the pigmentation on the eggs has floated off and the eggs become pure white in colour. The vinegar will have eaten away the shell – leaving a leathery membrane.
Pinch the membrane between thumb and forefinger at the top of the egg (around the air gap) and tear the leathery skin. You can then carefully peel the remaining membrane from the egg. With a little practice, you’ll be quickly producing clean, intact eggs – every time.
I peel the quail eggs while watching TV or listening to music. My Maltese terrors and I eat those eggs that do not survive the peeling process intact – and often some of those that do.