Ever look at the ingredients in store-bought mayo? Almost all of them are some version of this ingredient list, taken from a major brand:
water, soybean (and/or cottonseed or canola) oil, modified food starch (corn, potato), eggs, sugar, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, sorbic acid, and calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality), natural flavor, vitamin E, beta carotene (for color)
Even if you go high-end ‘organic’, it doesn’t look a whole lot different on the whole. Take this ingredient list from a national organic brand:
organic expeller pressed soy and/or canola oil, organic cage free eggs, organic cage free egg yolks, organic extra virgin olive oil, filtered water, organic honey
organic distilled vinegar, sea salt, organic mustard
organic lemon juice
Granted, this product uses all organic ingredients — hey, that’s better, right? — and cage free eggs, which to me are an important point, but the major oil–the main ingredient–is still one of poor quality for human consumption.
And that’s what’s most important, really, the healthful or harmful quality of the oil it’s made from, a point on which neither the standard brands nor the organic alternative makes the grade.
Honestly it takes but a few minutes to make your own mayonnaise, without the additives, without the bad oils, without the sugar or honey. You can choose the quality of the ingredients, whether the eggs are cage free and humanely raised (and pasteurized if you’re concerned about bacterial contamination), whether the lemon is organic (or in my case off the tree in my backyard), the type of vinegar you use for flavor and acidity, and what kind of decent oil you want to use. I’ve used good olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil. It’s up to you what floats your boat. Here’s how easy it is:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 lemon, for juice*
- 1/4 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (2.5 ml) dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vinegar of choice
- 3/4 to 1 cup (180 to 240 ml) oil of choice
- Put the egg yolk, lemon juice, salt and vinegar into a blender and blend on medium speed. (Alternatively you can mix it in a bowl with a whisk manually).
- In a slow, steady stream add the oil with the motor running (or while whisking like a demon) until the emulsification comes nicely together and makes what looks for all the world like mayonnaise!
- Store in a very clean, dry, air-tight jar and use up within a week.
*(Harvest the zest, too, and stir in at the end if you want a lemon aioli, which is yummy on fish or vegetables.)