As a child I never liked mayonnaise! Lexi has never been particularly fond of it either. For a long time I never bothered buying it until my husband started requesting it. That's when I developed a fondness for salad cream!
But there was something about it that just didn't sit well with me. I never felt great after eating it and I was really bothered by the fact that a food containing egg can last so long outside the fridge. I was really distressed when I looked at the ingredients.
My brother in law had started making his own mayonnaise and after tasting his I realised I couldn't buy the mass-produced junk anymore.
I'm Feeding My Child What?!
While the label on your mayonnaise may say it is real it also contains loads of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. I get that there are food safety regulations which make certain preservatives necessary, but let's take a look at what's actually in store bought mayonnaise:
Vegetable Oil (Minimum 25%)
Sunflower Seed (Antioxidant TBHQ E319)
Chemically Modified Maize Starch (E1412)
Lemon Juice (Contains Sulphur Dioxide)
Acidity Regulator (E330)
Preservative (Potassium Sorbate E202)
Sodium Benzoate (E211)
Colourants (E104, E110)
I won't go into detail on all the ingredients, but there are a few that raise red flags for me.
Chemically Modified Maize Starch (E1412) - For starters, we choose not to eat genetically modified foods and while it is not stated that it is genetically modified, in South Africa it is almost guaranteed that it is. Modified maize starch is often used in highly processed foods, along with salt, sugar and unhealthy fats.
Lemon Juice (Contains Sulphur Dioxide) - Sulphur dioxide is widely used in the food and drinks industries for its properties as a preservative and antioxidant. Whilst harmless to healthy persons when used in recommended concentrations, it can induce asthma when inhaled or ingested by sensitive subjects, even in high dilution.
Natural Flavourings - While this can mean essential oils or distillates, spices and herbs it is unfortunately also a commonly used label for a cocktail of chemicals.
In addition to their original flavor source, these mixtures can contain more than 100 different chemicals, including preservatives, solvents and other substances. These are defined as "incidental additives." However, food manufacturers aren't required to disclose whether these additives come from natural or synthetic sources. As long as the original flavoring source comes from plant or animal material, it is classified as a natural flavor.
Potassium Sorbate - Potassium sorbate is a chemical additive widely used as a preservative in foods. Some people are allergic to potassium sorbate and it is a known skin irritant. There have been cases of it being contaminated with lead, arsenic and mercury.
I think you get the picture! Store bought mayonnaise is NOT REAL FOOD.
So What Can I Give My Family Instead?
Real mayonnaise is incredibly easy to make and packed with nutrients. Making it requires very little forethought and uses regular pantry items. And it lasts two weeks in the fridge in a sealed container (we eat ours much faster than that though!). Homemade mayonnaise has a richness and silkiness that others don't have. It really is quite addictive.
All you need is egg, mustard, vinegar and oil.
It does require concentration and a little patience at first, but once you've made your first few batches it is very easy. You can make it in a food processor, power blender or using an immersion blender. I prefer to make it with the immersion blender in the jar that I store it in to minimise mess.
How to Fix a Broken Mayonnaise
If your mayonnaise remains a bit thin add a teaspoon of hot water. This helps to set the egg and re-emulsify the oil. It's ok it it stays a bit thin, this usually makes a great salad dressing.
If you work too fast your mayonnaise can separate and "break". Broken mayonnaise can always be fixed. Add an egg yolk and slowly whist it in to re-emulsify the mixture.
Here's How You Do It...
2 whole eggs, room temperature
2 Tbs mustard (I use Dijon)
2 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups oil*
Blend together your egg, mustard and vinegar / lemon juice.
Very slowly (here's where you need to be patient) pour in your oil a little at a time.
As soon as your mayonnaise thickens stop blending it (you may not need all the oil).
Stir in the salt.
* I do not recommend using a strong tasting oil like olive oil as it can make your mayonnaise bitter
Stir in 1 tsp mild curry powder
Stir in a few drops of your favourite chilli sauce
Chop up a small handful of your favourite herbs
What's your favourite way to eat mayonnaise?