Friday, May 31, 2013

Canning Mayonnaise

I've been asked the question "Can you can mayonnaise" many times... I've asked that question many times myself...

The answer, in a word, is "No!"

Where I come from, there's only one commercial brand of mayo worthy of use... and the best lunch you can ask for on a summer day is a 'mater sammich using a tomato fresh out of the garden with salt, pepper, and Duke's Mayonnaise! When my sister lived "up north" in New Jersey for several years, my mom bought Duke's by the gallon and any time they went up to visit, she took my sister a few gallons... we're THAT dedicated!

But, back to canning mayonnaise... "Why can't you can it?"

First, we need to talk about exactly what mayonnaise is... (trust me, I've researched this... I was DETERMINED there HAD to be a way to can mayonnaise!)

"Mayonnaise is an emulsion of vegetable oil in lemon juice stabilized by the molecule lecithin, found in egg yolks. Mayonnaise does not taste all that oily even though most of it is oil. This is because every molecule of oil is surrounded by a microscopic amount of lemon juice. Thus, it is important to remember that mayonnaise is not a small amount of lemon juice blended into oil, but is instead, a large amount of oil blended into a tiny amount of lemon juice.

The key to making mayonnaise is to avoid having the components of the emulsion separate back into the components. In cooking, this is called breaking. No matter how much you mix the oil and lemon juice together, it will always separate (break) into a gooey mess unless you include the egg yolk as a stabilizer. The lecithin in the egg yolk acts like detergent in dissolving both the oil and the lemon juice components. This is what keeps mayonnaise fluffy."

But... but... but...
How do commercial mayonnaise-makers can their mayonnaise?

They don't... 

Commercial Mayo isn't "canned," it is put in a jar and capped. Even the health seals are not from canning but an added assurance against tampering.

But... but... but...

Can't mayonnaise that's been left out of refrigeration cause food poisoning?

Ummm... No!

Commercial mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressings are prepared using pasteurized eggs that are free of Salmonella and other types of bacteria. Ingredients in the product such as vinegar and lemon juice provide a high acid environment, which slows or prohibits entirely the growth of these types of bacteria. Salt, another ingredient in commercial mayonnaise also acts to quell the growth of bacteria. Many of the foods used with mayonnaise such as tuna, ham, chicken, and potatoes are more prone to bacterial contamination than mayonnaise itself.

Commercial mayonnaise is actually shelf stable. Commercially made mayo has an additional ingredient which "binds" the mayo even if it is left out on the counter for quite a while; that component is known as EDTA. It is present in most if not all commercial mayos.

Just what is EDTA? It stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (for more information on EDTA, check here...


If you make your own mayonnaise, what will happen if you try canning it?

Well, I'll tell you...

The emulsifying job that the egg does in binding the oil and lemon juice (or vinegar) together will be compromised... the egg will cook and the oil and lemon juice (or vinegar) will separate and you'll have an ugly, globby mess!

Separated (attempted water bath canning) mayonnaise

My suggestion is this... make your own mayonnaise a small batch at a time... keep the ingredients (separately) on hand and whip up a bowl full once a week or so... it'll keep for a week or two in the fridge... and it doesn't contain EDTA or any other preservatives. This has worked great for me since I've been on this Candida Diet and most commercial mayonnaises contain sugar and/or soy oil (both big no-no's on the diet)... I can make my own and leave out the sugar... use olive oil and it tastes SO yummy I could eat it with a spoon! And I'm not a big mayo lover unless it's mixed in something or on a tomato sandwich!

My friend over at Joybilee Farms posted a great "fail-proof" mayonnaise recipe that is simple and yummy...


(Makes 1 cup, 250ml)
Time: 5 minutes with a stand mixer
Let’s start with a bowl, and a mixer or a whisk and one large farm fresh egg.
1 egg yolk, reserve the egg white for another recipe
1 tbsp. lemon juice or cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil plus ½ cup olive oil (total ¾ c.)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. Himalayan salt

Mayonnaise is an emulsified mixture of oil and water.  You need the acid of the lemon juice or vinegar mixed with the egg yolk to act as the emulsifier.  Don’t try to use a whole egg with this recipe.  You’ll have a mess on your hands.  You just want the yolk.
Use the best quality of virgin olive oil that you can find.  You don’t need much and good quality olive oil has many health benefits.  Use farm fresh, organic, free range eggs.  The eggs remain raw in mayonnaise, so your best bet is to raise your own, or to get your eggs from a local farmer that you know well.   Factory farmed store eggs are likely to have salmonella contamination.
Take the egg yolk and the lemon juice and beat them together well.  Then while beating with the whisk by hand or mixing with your mixer, drizzle in the first ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time into the egg-lemon juice mixture.  The mixture will begin to thicken.  Add the oil very slowly while you whisk, making sure that you whisk the oil in completely before adding additional oil.
Your mixture will begin to come together and lighten in colour.  Add the mustard and salt and continue beating.  Once the mixture begins to thicken, slowly drizzle the final ½ cup of oil into the centre of the mixture, beating to incorporated all the oil as you pour.  Stop the beaters and scrape the side of the bowl if necessary to incorporate all the oil, before drizzling more in.
If you are using farm fresh eggs, your mayonnaise will be a golden yellow colour.  It will be very thick and ready to use as soon as it thickens.  Refrigeration will thicken it further.  It will stay fresh for a week if kept refrigerated.  Recipe may be doubled, but don’t make more than you can eat in a week.


  1. I used to make my own mayo and sour dough bread ... it was a special Sunday dinner treat. Nice job explaining all this!

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  3. I am going to try this. I never had before ,since it made more then we could use. A cup is a lot easier to handle.

  4. I make my own mayo too. And let me say that I couldn't agree more on the matter sandwich - it is a delicacy around our house in the summer. And since you mentioned New Jersey - I'd have to say the best matter sandwich I ever had was with Jersey tomatoes. Yum!!!

  5. Home made, fresh mayo is one of the things I miss so much, can't wait for the chickens to start laying, so I can make some again.

    Love your blog and just can't say it enough :D

  6. Just stumbled on your blog today (when I googled "pickled onion relish recipe")and I am already hooked! Just curious, but in this post you mentioned being on a candida diet and your recipe has lemon juice or vinegar in it. My candida diet doesn't allow for either. Is there another option that you know of?

    1. The Candida Diet plan that I follow allows lemon juice and unfiltered apple cider vinegar... I know of no other options, sorry. ~Granny

  7. What a wonderful explanation ! You are so awesome. I enjoy all your posts. Thank you for keeping the canning spirit alive. Im 37 and grew up canning with my mother and grandmother. For me its a way of life. It amazes me how many people my age don't can. In this ready made world its nice to know I have the skills to "do it myself".keep up the good work :)

  8. So how do the commercial people do it? I have a great product that I feel should be marketed. I will be bottling my sugar-free all natural Ketchup. However it's my mayo product that is the one I'm really excited about and that I'd hoped to gift in small market ready jars to my investors this Christmas

  9. Great Information. I just started making my own. My daughter has had gut, yeast overgrowth issues. Painful! So working to cut as much sugar and other ingredient's as possible. Good to know about the soy for yeast issues, too. I get hives from some preservatives. Thanks, now I know I made the right decision to try making more from scratch.

  10. I have made my own mayo before, but it made such a large quantity that I ended up throwing most of it out. This smaller batch will be just about perfect. I hate throwing anything away, but I would rather dump 1/2 cup than a quart! I already make my own tomato sauce, etc., also. i thank you for the explanation on the canning part, too. I was wondering if the egg would cook and mess it all up.

  11. Thanks for the explanation but i want to know specifically how commercial people can their mayo.


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