How to preserve quail eggs

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “how to preserve quail eggs” and discuss the different methods used to preserve quail eggs

How to preserve quail eggs

During storage, egg quality deterioration is affected by temperature, humidity and handling. As the egg ages, its quality diminishes and rate of deterioration increases with high storage temperatures. Biochemical changes occurring during storage are responsible for weight loss and loss of interior quality such as albumen height, yolk height, yolk index and air cell size (1). 

Quail eggs can be preserved by:

  • Refrigerating
  • Freezing
  • Freeze drying
  • Dehydrating
  • Pickling

Fresh quail eggs can last for about 4 weeks at room temperature. Simply store the eggs in a carton or a basket. 

To preserve quail eggs for longer than 4 weeks, use one of the methods discussed below.

How to refrigerate quail eggs for preservation

Quail eggs can be refrigerated for about 6 weeks. Make sure not to wash the eggs before refrigerating. Eggs contain a natural protective outer covering called a bloom. Washing eggs will remove the bloom and make them susceptible to spoilage.

However, even at low temperature storage, eggs are susceptible to weight loss and changes in the albumen viscosity. The low temperature can delay pH changes and decrease moisture diffusion through the shell (2).

Refrigerated quail eggs must always be stored below 40°F.

How to freeze quail eggs for preservation

Freezing is used to preserve both raw and cooked eggs. However, eggs must not be frozen in their shells. Frozen eggs can be thawed in a container in the refrigerator overnight. Thawed eggs must not be refrozen.

A study showed that freezing of egg whites, egg yolk with salt and egg yolk with honey decreased the total yeast and mold count from 5.7×102, 3.3×102 and 4.9×10 to undetectable levels by the 3rd week, respectively (3).

To freeze raw scrambled eggs:

  • Lightly scramble the eggs.
  • Add sugar or salt. If salt or sugar is not added, the egg yolks will thicken during freezing.
  • Pour into muffin trays or ice cube trays and freeze them for a few hours.
  • Transfer into ziplock bags, label and place them back in the freezer.

To freeze cooked scrambled eggs:

  • Cook scrambled eggs and allow them to cool down to room temperature.
  • Wrap the eggs in plastic wrap and remove all air.
  • Place the plastic wrap inside a ziplock bag or cover it with foil.
  • Label and place it in the freezer.
  • Cooked scrambled, frozen eggs must be used within 1 year.

Freezing separated eggs: Egg whites and yolks can be frozen separately.

To freeze egg whites and yolks separately:

  • Separate eggs into whites and yolks.
  • Lightly stir the egg whites and yolks separately. For egg yolks, add sugar or salt to prevent thickening.
  • Freeze them in an ice cube or muffin tray.
  • Transfer into ziplock bags, label and place them back in the freezer.

Adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt per cup or 1/2 tablespoon of honey or sugar per cup of egg yolks will help keep them from being unusable after being thawed. Egg whites suffer from no such tendency to gel and can be frozen individually by putting them in an ice cube tray. Once the whites are frozen, pop it into a bag or freezer container and can be stored for up to one year. To use your frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in a refrigerator. Three tablespoons of thawed whole egg is the equivalent of one large fresh egg (3).

How to freeze-dry quail eggs for preservation

Freeze-drying allows the preservation of the proteins and nutrients in eggs for a long period. The main drawback of freeze-drying is that it requires a freeze dryer. Freeze-drying is a mild method because it does not use high temperatures. In this process, the previously frozen food is subjected to a vacuum, and the present water changes directly from the solid state to vapor (4).

Both cooked and raw scrambled eggs can be freeze-dried. Freeze-drying preserves 97℅ of the nutritional value in eggs for about 25 years. Eggs must be pasteurized before they are freeze-dried. A simple way to pasteurize is to place them in a water bath at 60 ºC for 3.5 min (4).To obtain the best shelf-life from freeze-dried eggs, they must be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dark place. It is also recommended to add an oxygen absorber.

Freeze-dried eggs can be used as a substitute for freshly cracked eggs in baking, scrambling and even as an egg wash.

How to dehydrate quail eggs for preservation

Eggs can be scrambled or hard-boiled and then dehydrated using an oven or a food dehydrator. After dehydration, eggs can be ground to a powder in a food processor. Dehydrated and powdered eggs can be stored in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed.

Home-made dehydrated eggs can last for about a year. If frozen, dehydrated eggs may last for about 5 years (5).

How to preserve quail eggs by using mineral oil

Eggs coated with mineral oil will preserve for about 3 months at room temperature and up to 1 year when refrigerated. The advantage of the mineral oil method is that it can be used to preserve whole raw eggs. However, some studies showed that oil coated eggs were stable 4 weeks longer than non-coated eggs at room temperature, that is, for about 7 to 8 weeks. The oil replaces the natural bloom, the protective coating on the outside of the egg, which is removed during washing (3). 

To preserve eggs will mineral oil:

  • Clean and dry whole raw eggs.
  • Warm-up mineral oil.
  • Rub mineral oil over the whole eggs.
  • Place the mineral oil-coated eggs in a dry carton with the small end down.
  • Gently flip the egg carton either monthly or weekly. This is done to keep the yolks intact.

How to preserve quail eggs by pickling

Pickling is the most common way to preserve quail eggs for long term storage. Quail eggs are commercially pickled but they can be pickled at home as well.

A recipe for homemade pickled quail eggs can be found here.

Quail eggs vs chicken eggs

Quail eggs are pretty similar to chicken eggs and the same preservation methods can be used to preserve quail eggs.

Quail eggs are smaller than chicken eggs and their color ranges from white to brown with characteristic speckles. The quail egg weighs an average of 9 g, approximately 1/5 the weight of a medium chicken egg. Therefore, in several recipes the use of the quail egg becomes inconvenient. In addition to the small size, the greater fragility of the quail eggshell is also an inconvenience, resulting in significant losses along the production chain (4).

Quail eggs can be used interchangeably with chicken eggs, thus Its composition is similar to the chicken egg (4), however, due to their small size about 3 quail eggs would be required for every chicken egg.

How to test if quail eggs have gone bad?

Even refrigerated and frozen quail eggs may go bad. A simple float test can be done to check the quality of the quail eggs without cracking them open. 

To do a float test:

  • Fill a bowl with cold water.
  • Place the quail eggs in the bowl.
  • If any of the quail eggs float to the top, they have gone bad. A bad egg will also feel extremely light in weight and give off a pungent smell (3).

Another test: Candling the eggs by holding the egg from the small end where the large end was up to a light and the air space should be no more than 3/26 of an inch. The yolk should not be distinctly visible and movement should not easily be detected when the egg is turned quickly. In an older egg, the air space will be greater and the yolk will move freely when the egg is manipulated (3).

Other FAQs about Eggs that you may be interested in.

Can you eat mallard duck eggs?

Can you eat lobster eggs?

How to tell if eggs have gone bad?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question,” how to preserve quail eggs”, and discussed the different methods used to preserve quail eggs.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References

  1. Dada, T. O., et al. Comparative evaluation of some properties of chicken and Japanese quail eggs subjected to different storage methods. Poul Sci J, 2018, 6, 155-164. 
  2. González Sánchez, J. F., F. H. Chamorro Ramírez, and H. Hernández Unzón. Physicochemical changes in quail eggs (Coturnix coturnix japonica) after storage at different temperatures. J Appl Anim Res, 2009, 35, 177-180.
  3. M WAHBA, N. A. H. E. D., W. A. L. A. A. M EL-SHEREIF, and M. AMIN. The effect of different preservation methods on egg quality and validity. Assiut Veter Med J, 2014, 60, 42-48.
  4. Nunes, Mariana Aparecida, et al. Stability evaluation of quail egg powder obtained by freeze-drying. Res, Soc Develop, 2021, 10, e184101420930-e184101420930.
  5. Grumezescu, Alexandru Mihai, and Alina Maria Holban, eds. Role of materials science in food bioengineering. Vol. 19. Academic Press, 2018.