I’m a big proponent of eating less processed foods, which means making more stuff at home. As such, I’ve been making mayonnaise regularly at home for the past several years, but now that my husband is away the mayo stays in the fridge long enough to turn into a weird texture. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on at a chemical level but I do know I enjoy creamy mayo better.
Given that a lot of food manufacturing companies have jumped on the health claim bandwagon I’m always hopeful I will find a jarred mayonnaise that will contain minimally processed ingredients. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. The closest I’ve found was an olive oil-containing mayonnaise sold at the farmers markets by an olive farm, which also contained canola oil. I know there is a health aura surrounding canola oil, but I prefer consuming oils that do not undergo such extensive processing.
What is wrong with the mayonnaise you can find at the supermarket?
To answer this question we need to go back to basics: What is mayonnaise anyway?
- a dressing made chiefly of egg yolks, vegetable oils, and vinegar or lemon juice (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
- a thick, white sauce made from oil, vinegar, and the yellow part of eggs, usually eaten cold (Cambridge dictionary)
- a thick creamy dressing consisting of egg yolks beaten with oil and vinegar and seasoned (Oxford dictionary)
In contrast, have a look at the ingredients lists below.
I did a bit of number crunching and, out of the 15 mayonnaise products pictured above, most contained extra ingredients. For example:
- 7 used sunflower oil, 5 canola oil, 2 rapeseed, soybean or vegetable oil
- 13 contained water
- 11 contained whole eggs, 3 contained egg yolks and 1 contained liquid whole egg and liquid egg yolks (I’m guessing these come in a tetrapack and not in a shell)
- 10 did not specify which vinegar they contained, 5 said it was white vinegar and 1 also had malt vinegar
- 13 contained sugar and 2 corn syrup
- 4 contained preservative (385 or 202)
- 6 contained antioxidant (304, 307b, 320 or 385)
- 2 contained stabilisers (412 or 415)
- 2 contained corn starch (modified or otherwise)
- 15 contained thickeners (vegetable gum [405, 415], 425, 1403, 1422, 1442, 1450, corn starch, modified corn starch)
- 1 contained cream powder
- 1 contained citrus fibre
- 1 contained lemon oil
- 5 contained food acid (citric acid = 330) or acidity regulator
- 7 contained colour (101, 160a, 171 or carotenes)
- 1 contained whey protein concentrate (what for??)
- 9 contained mustard, 1 contained mustard flour (aka mustard powder, I guess), and 1 contained natural mustard flavouring, whatever that is
- All of them contained some sort of seasoning, which included (from the specific to the highly ambiguous): garlic, paprika, natural paprika extract, rosemary extract, natural flavour extract, flavour, spices, spice extract, herb extract, vegetable powder.
The label is adorned with a few health claims, such as “all natural ingredients”, “sugar free”, “soy & canola free”, “dairy free”, “gluten & grain free”. The product also is certified gluten free (by US standards), certified Paleo, Whole 30 approved and Non GMO Project Verified. All of these mostly appeal to the paleo/primal crowd and would probably make other circles very angry. Other people might not care. Anyway, the ingredients list is short and sweet: avocado oil, organic cage-free eggs, organic cage-free egg yolks, organic vinegar (from non-GMO beets), sea salt, organic rosemary extract.
The mayo is super creamy and I quite liked the taste. The colour is quite whiter than what I get when I make mayo with avocado oil, not sure why.
Why avocado oil?
Avocado oil, like olive oil, is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). There is evidence to suggest that MUFAs are beneficial for cardiovascular and metabolic health, and that they are more stable than polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). I’ll be writing a more in-depth post about this in the future.
I’m not suggesting everyone goes online and orders mayonnaise made by this crazy primal guy. It’s just an option for people looking for alternatives to the current mayonnaise landscape and a wish to have a similar product made locally.