I know, I know. Cooking healthy meals at home is one thing, but making homemade mayo seems like a huge, unnecessary hassle right? I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of people trying to whisk mayo by hand for 30 minutes and ending up with nothing.
With the right tools you can make your own mayonnaise in about three minutes flat. The result is thick and creamy and will convert most mayo-haters, but the best part is that you can choose the oil you use and eliminate unnecessary ingredients and preservatives.
About Vegetable Oils
The main reason you should choose to make your own mayonnaise instead of buying store bought is because most store versions contain soybean oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Even the olive oil mayos tend be at least half vegetable oil. In addition, they contain preservatives, sugar, and thickeners like modified food starch.
Why should you avoid these oils?
Vegetable oils and margarine were not popular diet staples in the past, instead people relied fresh butter, animal fats like lard, olive oil, and coconut oil to cook with. Vegetable oil consumption has risen dramatically from the beginning of the 20th Century through today, because they have been marketed as a cheap, shelf-stable, and heart healthy alternative to saturated fats, which have been erroneously linked to heart disease. Also, the industrial revolution made it easier to process these oils. Today, soybean oil makes up up to 20% of the average American’s calorie intake!
Unlike coconut or olive oil, which can be easily pressed to make oils, seed oils have to be heavily processed in order to produce oil. All vegetable oils go through a process of refining and bleaching, which involves multiple chemicals and high heat. In their natural forms these oils are typically not shelf-stable, cannot be heated, and go rancid easily, but the refining process has turned them into our go-to cooking and frying oils. After this process is complete, some vegetable oils are then turned into shortening or margarine, through a process of hydrogenation that makes these liquid vegetables solid, and produces trans fats.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Another reason to limit consumption of vegetable oils is because it is important to maintain a balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Ratios of consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 fatty acids used to range from 1:1-1:4, but can now range up to 1:25. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids are both essential fatty acids that create anti-inflammatory prostaglandins in the body, but both create different types of prostaglandins. When we eat too many Omega-6 fatty acids, it can prevent Omega-3 fatty acids from being converted into prostagladin 3, and we wind up with only prostaglandin 1. Both of these prostaglandins do different jobs in the body, and the prostaglandins created from Omega-3 have specifically been shown to prevent Coronary Heart Disease and slow it down in those who already have it, reduce Triglycerides, and reduce inflammation in the body overall.
It is important to note that we shouldn’t be afraid of Omega-6 fats. Instead we need to get it from the right sources and make sure that we are eating a healthy balance of all fats.
Types of Fats
Saturated fats are highly stable fats and can be used at high heat and for frying. They are typically solid or semisolid at room temperature. Healthy sources include:
- Coconut Oil
- Palm Oil
- Grass fed butter
- Animal fats
Monounsaturated fats are relatively stable fats and can be used for cooking, but shouldn’t be too highly heated. Healthy sources include:
- Avocado Oil
- Olive Oil
- Nut Oils
Polyunsaturated fats are not very stable and should never be heated. Healthy sources include:
- Fish oil
- Flax Seed Oil
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Oil
- Black currant seed
- Evening primrose
While you can make mayo with a food processor, having to bring out the food processor (then wash it) and sloooooowly pour the oil in can be a hassle, and I’ve had this method fail on me many times. Because of this I recommend buying an immersion blender, which is also an amazing tool for soups, sauces, salad dressings, etc.
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
1 tsp of Dijon Mustard
1 cup of either Avocado Oil, Macadamia Oil, or Light Olive Oil (light olive oil is your cheapest bet!)
- In a jar large enough to fit your immersion blender, add one egg, one tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of mustard, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of oil.
- Put your immersion blender in the bottom of the jar, turn it on, then pull it up. Pulse the blender up and down a few times and you have mayo!
- Garlic Mayo – add either 1 clove of garlic or replace about 1 Tbs of the oil with garlic flavored olive oil
- Basil Mayo – After you’ve made the mayo, add about 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil and blend again
- Chipotle Lime Mayo – Replace lemon juice with lime juice, add 1/2 tsp of lime zest, 1 tsp of adobo sauce from can, and one chipotle pepper in adobo (de-seeded)
- Lemon Tarragon Mayo – This is currently my favorite flavor combo for summer and would make an amazing chicken salad base! To the regular mayo recipe, add 1/4 cup of tarragon, and the zest of a lemon.
Further Reading on Fats!
- How Too Much Omega-6 and Not Enough Omega-3 is Making Us Sick
- Why You should Never Eat Margarine or Vegetable Oil
- The Great Con-ola