Quality nutrition is so important for healing and maintaining our physical body. Embracing this stewardship is my passion as a nutritional therapist. However, when quality nutrition also builds community and local economy, holistic health is truly cultivated. This makes me even more ecstatic! Therefore, this will be my first of many articles spotlighting what our local community has to offer--which I will share from time to time!
This last week, my diet was exotically broadened with the introduction of some nutritional dynamite: quail eggs! Unknowingly, the adventure was in the making when Kristina Snyder, of Sunny Cove Farm, hatched quail eggs from her home this winter. I had the delight of seeing the chicks at different stages of growth. They were quite cute! Soon, her family was enjoying the “fruit” of their labor! Content with my chicken eggs from the Sunny Cove store, it did not occur to me to try her quail eggs. However, that all changed this last week when she personally offered me some of her new
est product! I had never tried a quail egg, and was quite surprised by how tiny they are! Honestly, my first thought was, “how impractical!” I’d yet to realize the gift I was given.
There are many ways to eat the quail egg. For my first try, I decided to go with the height of nutritional advantage. A local Ukrainian friend, Pavel, educated me on the methods of how to eat a raw quail egg. This is the tradition in his culture as it is recognized that all the nutrients are preserved by not cooking the egg. Although nervous about the texture, I proceeded. No worries! A mild sweet flavor, much like the yolk of a soft-boiled chicken egg. It was delightful and I felt nourished.
It’s not all in my head! After this new experience, I decided to do some research. Truly, every sustainably raised egg (chicken, duck, quail, etc.) deserves a five-star rating for nutrition. For example, all of these eggs contain high levels of vitamin A, D, B12, selenium, protein and fat--making them a great food for vision and blood sugar handling among other things. However, the quail egg has some unique treasures.
The origin of quail egg consumption can be traced back to Egyptian and Chinese medicines,
when it was used to fight respiratory diseases and general immune conditions. This practice soon spread to other Asian cultures--Japan is known for feeding their children 2 quail eggs for a school breakfast. The eggs are also prized in European countries-- I mentioned the Ukrainian traditions shared with me by Pavel, and they are quite common in some South American countries where they are typically served hard boiled.
So, what sets the quail egg apart from other eggs? Above, I termed the egg “dynamite” because when comparing quail eggs to chicken eggs, one quail egg contains six times more vitamin B1 and fifteen times more vitamin B2. Also, between 1960-1980, two physicians, Dr. Truffier and Dr. Lucotte conducted separate studies of therapeutic doses of quail eggs which resulted in profound ‘cures’ of asthma and allergies. (Supporting their historical use in Egypt and China.) This is the result of unique enzymes in the egg white which inhibit trypsin (a protein which causes allergies.) And what about eating quail eggs raw? Well, you certainly can enjoy them prepared any way you would cook a chicken egg. However, unlike chicken eggs, quail eggs contain little to no Salmonella due to an increased amount of lysozyme--an enzyme that kills bacteria. So, if you trust the source of the egg and it is fresh, you can enjoy all these nutrients raw!
Best of all, I don’t have to travel far to find more eggs, thanks to our new local supplier! You could say, two to three quail eggs keep the doctor away! I just may find out as I incorporate this delicious “super-food” into my regular diet.
Douglas, Alexandra Teodozja. Coturnix Revolution: The Success in Keeping the Versatile Coturnix: Everything You Need to Know about the Japanese Quail. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.