A jar of Hellman's, or similar squat blue-topped jar, is requisite for all summer picnic tables. Mayonnaise gets slathered on hamburger buns, stirred into potato salad, or made into a quick dip right there on the spot. Do you ever think about setting the jar aside and making mayo yourself?
For purposes of comparison, we'll use a 30 oz jar of Hellman's Real Mayonnaise. And for the homemade recipe, we'll use The Kitchn's own method. All costs were taken from Peapod Online Grocery unless otherwise noted.
• Hellman's Real Mayonnaise
PER SERVING (1 Tablespoon): $0.08
• Homemade Mayonnaise
Makes about 1/2 cup
1 egg yolk: $0.19
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice: $0.34
1/4 teaspoon salt: $0.01
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard: $0.13*
1/2 cup canola oil: $0.59
PER SERVING (1 Tablespoon): $0.16
* Updated 7/15/11 after a miscalculation of the cost of the mustard
• Hellman's Real Mayonnaise: 0 Minutes
• Homemade Mayonnaise: About 5 minutes
Mayo has an undeserved reputation for being finicky, for separating on a whim, and for being generally hard to get right. It's just one of those things that requires a few trial efforts. Once you get a feel for it, making a batch of mayonnaise is really no harder than whipping up a salad dressing
Making a batch also requires very little forethought and the mayo will keep refrigerated for two weeks. Depending on how much mayo you go through in your house, whipping up a 1/2 cup of mayo could be a daily event or it could last you its entire 2-week shelf life.
I'm going to go ahead and say that mayo is a surprisingly easy and "convenient" condiment to make yourself.
TASTINESS AND HEALTHFULNESS
I love that homemade mayo is just five ingredients. Store-bought mayo is surprisingly un-processed, but it still contains some preservatives and more other ingredients than are necessary (I'm glad it contains real eggs, but sugar?!). With homemade, we know that the eggs are top-quality, we can choose the type of oil being used, and we know it's fresh.
Homemade mayo wins in taste, as well. The real stuff is creamy and rich, with a natural tanginess. By comparison, store-bought often tastes like a watery imitation.
MAKE OR BUY?
This one is going to depend on how much you use mayo, I think. In our house, we don't go through mayo very quickly at all and a homemade batch would inevitably go bad before we use it all. It makes more sense for us to keep a jar of store-bought in the fridge for sandwiches and quick batches of tunafish, and then make homemade for special occasions or mayo-intensive recipes like potato salad.
The cost was a big surprise to me. This is one of the few foods in this series where the homemade cost was actually more expensive than the store-bought. Those of you who make your own mayo, is the cost an issue for you?
VERDICT? Make it if your household goes through a lot of mayo; otherwise, save the homemade for special occasions.
What do you think?
Related: Make or Buy? Yogurt
(Images: Peapod and Faith Durand)