Food column: Quail eggs are little gems

Quail eggs are available at the Kootenay Co-op Grocery Store. - Kirsten Hildebrand photo
Quail eggs are available at the Kootenay Co-op Grocery Store.
— image credit: Kirsten Hildebrand photo

Quail eggs may be considered a delicacy but preparing the little speckled gems is really quite easy.

Local farmers are providing area stores with the small eggs that contain three to four times the nutrition of a standard chicken egg.

Quail eggs contain 13 per cent proteins compared to 11 per cent in chicken eggs. They also contain 140 per cent of vitamin B1 or Thiamin compared to 50 per cent in chicken eggs. They give five times as much iron and potassium as well.

Quail eggs contain twice as much vitamin A and B2 or Riboflavin as a chicken egg. The eggs are richer in phosphorus and calcium as well.

Slocan Valley farmer, Jim Ross is now offering quail eggs at the Kootenay Co-op in Nelson along with other stores around the region.

“We started keeping quail because we really like birds and were looking for a small niche market to experiment with on our farm,” he says. “Quail are pretty simple to raise but not like chickens. If you let them free range they won’t come back to the coop.”

Quail are naturally insectivorous and consume mostly seeds and grasses or legumes in the wild. Ross says they outgrow chickens during their early weeks eating lots while developing. They start laying eggs at eight to ten-weeks-old rather than six months, as is the case with chickens.

Ross raises cotournix, which are the most popular layers. Other varieties are used for meat.

Ross explains quail eggs also don’t tend to cause allergies the way chicken eggs do. Some say they actually help fight allergy symptoms. Natural medical practitioners recommend eating quail eggs for treatment of many problems. Quail eggs help build a strong immune system, promote memory health, increase brain function and stabilize the nervous system. Chinese medical practitioners have advised their use for hundreds of years for problems such as stress, asthma and they’re said to stimulate growth and increase sexual appetite.

For those with discerning tastes, quail eggs have a more rich flavour. While some consider them a delicacy, in South American countries they’re hard-boiled and used to top a hot dog or burger. In Vietnam bags of boiled eggs are sold as bar snacks.

Give them a try but don’t just crack them into a fry pan and expect them to come out perfect sunnyside up. They cook much faster than a conventional egg.


This column appeared in the February 7 issue of {vurb}.


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