How to Raise Quail and Pickle Quail Eggs

Learn how to pickle quail eggs, along with other tips for homesteading in Alaska.

| July/August 1972

We've been living in the Alaskan Interior for eleven years . . . two teaching in the bush country and riding around on dogsleds, the other nine near Fairbanks, where we are now. This year we've gotten into animals for the first tune and keeping quail, guinea hens, bantams, chickens, geese, a goat and a pig or two has made things poetry lively for us.

The quail have turned out to be very good homestead birds (they're small and gentle enough for some of you city folks to keep too). The eggs they lay are great, and we've stumbled onto a fantastic way to fix them. Are you ready for this... PICKLED QUAIL EGGS !

How to Pickle Quail Eggs

First boil the eggs for five minutes, then soak them in vinegar for at least an hour to soften the membranes (quail eggs are mighty tough). The spotted shell coloring floats off in the vinegar—don't worry about it—and after soaking, the membranes can be removed by gently squeezing the eggs and peeling.

Now marinate the quail fruit in your favorite pickle juice for two to three weeks in a cool place. Or make your own special pickling juice . . . the possibilities are limitless. We particularly favor beet juice and vinegar spiced up with small whole onions, fresh garlic, dill, a few peppercorns, a pinch of sugar and a clove or two. The color's wild and the flavor's delicious.

You could put your eggs in jars when they're done and sell them, I guess. They'd make a real delicacy for bazaars, the co-op or your local delicatessen, I've no idea what price they'd bring, though, as our pickled quail eggs never get past the cabin door.

Raising Quail

Quail are good layers, beginning six to eight weeks after mating, and the eggs are relatively large for the birds' size. (Buy your quail before they start to lay . . . they cost less then.) We got at least three eggs a day—sometimes as many as six—from our farm producing hens, The Wildlife Management Institute in Washington, D.C., says quail lay an average of about four eggs a week (although ours are doing better than that) so with 16 or 17 hens you should harvest a dozen or more eggs a day.

5/22/2013 1:05:33 PM

Yes, please edit.  The obvious errors detract from an otherwise splendid article.  Keeping animals for the first time (not tune) has kept you poetry or plenty busy?  I'm sure you meant many records and not many retards were broken.  Stupid autocorrect!


5/2/2013 9:51:09 PM

Ummm do you realize that you have a major typo in this article... it says "retards" where it should say "records."  Worst ever.

4/26/2012 2:36:45 PM

I hope that's what it was and the writer seriously did not use the phrase "broke many retards"!

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