Quail eggs are easily recognisable by their small size and the brown speckled pattern found on their shell. The nutritional value of a quail egg is three to four times higher than that of an average chicken egg, when compared ounce for ounce. Quail eggs can be prepared and eaten in the same ways as chicken eggs, but it can requires a bit more work due to their small size. Pickling is a popular way to prepare quail eggs.
Put four dozen quail eggs in a large pot and cover them with water. Inspect the quail eggs for cracks as you add them to the pot. Discard any damaged eggs.
Put the pot on the stove at high heat. Allow the eggs to boil for three minutes, then transfer them to a bowl of cold water until they're cool enough to handle, usually five to 10 minutes.
Peel the eggs and transfer them to sanitised qt canning jars.
Add 3 cups white vinegar, four to six chopped garlic cloves, 10 to 12 whole black peppercorns, 2 tsp yellow or black mustard seeds, 4 whole cloves and 2 fresh bay leaves to a saucepan. For a hot brine, add chopped hot peppers, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or 1 to 3 tsp of your favourite hot sauce.
Put the saucepan on the stove at medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat once it boils and allow it to set for a minimum of two hours. The ingredients infuse with one another during this time, which makes a more flavourful liquid.
Pour the liquid in the jars with the quail eggs. Leave between ½ and 1 inch of empty space at the top of each jar. Screw the lids on the jars.
Place the jars inside a canner or large pot, along with 3 inches of water. Cover the canner or pot with a lid and leave it on the stove at medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow the jars to cool down to room temperature, usually this will take no more than 30 minutes. The jars should create a vacuum seal as they cool down.
Store the jars in a dry, dark area until they are ready to be used. A two week waiting period before the eggs are used is suggested, as this allows enough time for the brine to fully soak into the eggs. Any jars that do not properly seal should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within two weeks.