Just Mayonnaise v.s. Mayonnaise/Miracle Whip

justmayoAlthough I’m usually for the underdog, I can’t see how anyone can call a slurry of ingredients mayonnaise when it lacks eggs for the emulsion base.   JUST Mayo is something, but it is NOT mayonnaise.

I must agree with Michael Faherty, Vice President of Unilever Foods North America when he said: “This is about misleading consumers.”

I am no fan of prepackaged foods, in any shape or form, from big multinational corporations to little suppliers.  But, I am more disturbed by the attitude that  “we can call anything, anything we want” mindset, and even more so when it comes to consumer products.

I don’t think consumers should bear the brunt of what is, clearly, false advertising. In 1933, Miracle Whip was found to not be mayonnaise because it lacked enough oil.  It also (to mayonnaise v.s. Miracle Whip advocates) doesn’t taste the same. So, why should a product that doesn’t contain eggs be confused with the real thing?   Mayonnaise has been mayonnaise since the 1700’s, why are we even entertaining the notion that Just Mayonnaise is anything except a fraud?  Let it find a new name for the new product.

If I want to buy prepared mayonnaise, I’d like to buy a product containing: oil, eggs, an acid containing food (vinegar or lemon juice, typically), maybe some salt, maybe some mustard (helps keep the emulsion intact).  That is what mayonnaise is made of.

If I buy Hellman’s/Best Foods Mayonnaise I get: soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, and calcium disodium EDTA.  I’m not thrilled about the soybean oil or the calcium disodium (used to keep the emulsion together, and give it longer shelf life).  But I’m getting the basic ingredients of a mayonnaise I can create at home.

You cannot recreate “Just Mayonnaise” at home.

Why?  Just Mayo‘s ingredients:

  • Non-GMO Expeller Pressed Canola Oil
  • Filtered Water
  • Lemon Juice
  • White Vinegar
  • 2% or less of the following: Organic Sugar, Salt, Pea Protein, Spices, Modified Food Starch, Beta-Carotene

What is missing?  EGGS!

Oil into vinegar is an emulsion, but a weak one.  There’s no body to it, so to get the egg substitute (and color, along with the vegetable coloring in beta-carotene) Just Mayonnaise uses a pea protein extracted from Canadian yellow peas along with modified food starch. This gives the emulsion something to cling to, and mix with. It is a vastly different emulsion than one with egg yolks, though.   And, what IS “pea protein” and what IS “modified food starch”?

The pea protein is put through a chemical/heat process to break it down to its essential elements. In chemical terms it is: extracted with alkaline solution followed by acid precipitation.  The common method is called acid-hydrolyzed. The legume (soybean, pea, bean, garbanzo, etc.)  is cooked at a temperature between 90 °C and 120 ° for up to 8 hours in a diluted (15-20%) hydrochloric acid solution. Then it is neutralized with either sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide (ph of 5 or 6).  The hydrolysate (i.e. the neutralized sludge) is filtered, several times, to remove the insoluble parts, and then filtered through activated charcoal to take out any off-flavors.  Then it is then spray-dried, or vacuum dried and ready for use as a food ingredient.

HPV (hydrolyzed vegetable protein) is in a wide array of foods, and there have been several major recalls because of Salmonella contamination. It is used in prepared soups, sauces, chilis, stews, hot dogs, gravies, salad dressings, snack foods, chips, dips, and blended with other spices to flavor foods.  The unfortunate fact is that HPV is a source of MSG (monosodium glutame) that same food additive that is implicated in headaches, discomfort, and other allergy trigger symptoms, as well as fibromyalgia, depression and hyperactivity.  MSG is often disguised in food labels as “natural flavors”, and as vegetable protein.

A modified food starch involves boiling a starch with inorganic acids (such as hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid) to break down the starch molecule to lower the viscosity (make it stiffer, in essence).  The long term health effects of ingesting these things is unknown, as there have been no publicly-released studies. If the starch used in modified corn starch, potato, or tapioca (only modified wheat starch must be labeled “wheat”) it will, usually, contain up to 10% maltodextrin, anther way that MSG (monsodium glutamate) is hidden in prepared foods.

(Note: A large number of modified starches are made in China. If you consider the issues with lead poisoning of toys, and melamine poisoning of infant formula and pet food, you might want to rethink ingesting this stuff.)

You CAN make mayonnaise at home —

Basic Mayonnaise recipe:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil, salad oil, or mixture
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Beat egg yolks with salt, mustard, and vinegar or lemon juice. Add oil, a drop at a time, and keep beating. Dribble oil in, in short bursts, beating constantly to make sure egg mixture absorbs oil smoothly. Dribble, and then stop and beat. Dribble, stop, and beat. When 1/3 cup oil is mixed in, the chance of the whole sauce breaking is lessened, so you can add oil in larger amounts (such as a teaspoon at a time). Continue until all oil has been used. The end result will be very thick and creamy. Thin with a little boiling water or a mixture of hot water and more vinegar or lemon juice if mixture is too thick. Add seasoning after mayonnaise has been chilled, covered, for an hour. (If not covered, it may develop an unsightly “skin” on top.)

Mayonnaise v.s. Miracle Whip

Mayonnaise is not to be confused with Miracle Whip, which is mayo-like, but has an obvious SWEETNESS to it.  It was created as an alternative to mayonnaise, and there are those who prefer it.  (I do not.) It has more ingredients including sugar (in the original recipe, now it’s high fructose corn syrup and solids), garlic powder, paprika, and a few other “proprietary blend” spices/flavors.  In 1933, the FDA decided this was not mayonnaise because it lacked the 65% oil, and had the extra ingredients.

You CAN make a Miracle Whip clone at home:

Nearly Miracle Whip

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4-5 teaspoons white sugar (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup oil (bland olive oil, saffola oil, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard (or 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard)
  • paprika and garlic powder (to taste).

Combine vinegars, lemon juice, and stir in salt until dissolved. Mix into the egg yolk, whisking until fully combined.  Slowly add oil, a drop at a time, whisking constantly until the oil is absorbed by the yolk/vinegar mixture. When it is thickened, add mustard, and spices, and mix in well.   Chill before using for best flavor. Good in refrigerator for up to 7 days.