Mayonnaise is made using egg yolks, oil, vinegar or lemon juice and seasonings to create a thick, creamy and spreadable condiment. Mayonnaise is created by emulsifying the ingredients together by slowly adding the oil to the egg yolks and lemon juice, while simultaneously mixing them together. The egg yolks act as the emulsifier to prevent the mixture from separating once the mixing is complete.
Once the mayonnaise is made, seasonings are typically added to it to add unique flavor. Mayonnaise can be made at home using a blender, food processor or mixer. However, because the eggs are not cooked, it is important to use fresh eggs from a reliable source to avoid salmonella poisoning. Freshly made mayonnaise keeps for up to four days in the refrigerator, while store-bought mayonnaise can last for up to six months.
Commercial mayonnaise is regulated to contain at least 65 percent oil and use only egg as an emulsifier. However, some reduced-fat versions of mayonnaise, which are not technically classified as real mayonnaise, use cellulose gel or modified food starches as an emulsifier. Mayonnaise forms the basis for many other sauces, such as salad dressings and tartar sauce. When garlic is added to mayonnaise, it is called aioli. Mayonnaise was invented in 1756 by a French chef.