Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade Mayo and Ketchup

I remember the first time I heard someone say she made her own mayonnaise. It had never occurred to me that people might think of making their own. To me, mayo was something you relied on some big company to make for you.

Over the last few years, we've learned how the volatile fats in vegetable oils are damaged by the processing they undergo, and we are wary about consuming them. Mayonnaise is generally made of these oils. Even mayos that boast With Olive Oil! on the front of the jar still contain another (cheaper, milder) oil as the main ingredient. For a while we bought these types of mayos and consumed them less and less until we weren't eating much at all.

As of about last summer, I jumped on the mayo makers bandwagon! We have loved the difference. Not only is it alive and raw, it's easy to make, and it's delicious (who'd have thought?)! This stuff reminds me of the mayo from Belgium, which was hands down the best I've ever eaten.

The following recipe and commentary come from Nourishing Traditions. As I generally have whey on hand, I include it in the recipe.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 whole egg, at room temperature [since they stay raw, use pastured eggs]
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon-type mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice [truth be told, I double and sometimes triple this ingredient]
1 tablespoon whey, optional
3/4 - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil [preferred] or expeller-pressed sunflower oil or a combination
generous pinch seat salt
Homemade mayonnaise imparts valuable enzymes, particularly lipase, to sandwiches, tuna salad, chicken salads and many other dishes and is very easy to make in a food processor. The addition of whey will help your mayonnaise last longer, adds enzymes and increases nutrient content. Use sunflower oil if you find that olive oil gives too strong a taste. Homemade mayonnaise will be slightly more liquid than store-bought versions. [The mayo I made today was as firm as any I've had from the store... maybe doubling made a difference?]
In your food processor, place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt, lemon juice and optional whey. Process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Using the attachment that allows you to add liquids drop by drop, add olive oil and/or sunflower oil with the motor running. Taste and check seasoning. You may want to add more salt and lemon juice [do, do!]. If you have added whey, let the mayonnaise sit at room temperature, well covered, for 7 hours before refrigerating. With whey added, mayonnaise will keep several months and will become firmer with time. Without whey, mayonnaise will keep for about 2 weeks.

Now, as for homemade ketchup, I've had my radar on it for some time, as store-bought ketchup is at least a 1/4 sugar or high fructose corn syrup. This recipe, also from Nourishing Traditions, included fermented fish sauce, which daunted me from making it for a long time. I finally made my own fish sauce (*enthusiastic cheer*) a few months ago. Necessity called on me to whip up some ketchup today, and I bravely did so, hesitatingly tried it, and actually found it tasty!  Following the recipe, I will include some interesting thoughts from the author on the history of ketchup.

Makes 1 quart

3 cups canned tomato paste, preferably organic [I used 4 of those small cans]
1/4 cup whey
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup homemade fish sauce or commercial fish sauce* [I wimped out a bit and used a little less than this]
Mix all ingredients until well blended. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. The top of the ketchup should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Leave at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.
Additional commentary from Sally Fallon:
Ketchup provides us with an excellent example of a condiment that was formerly fermented and therefore health promoting, but whose benefits were lost with large scale canning methods and a reliance on sugar rather than lactic acid as a preservative. 
The word "ketchup" derives from the Chinese Amoy dialect ke-tsiap or pickled fish-brine or sauce, the universal condiment of the ancient world. The English added foods like mushrooms, walnuts, cucumbers and oysters to this fermented brew; Americans added tomatoes from Mexico to make tomato ketchup. 
Writing in 1730, Dean Swift mentions ketchup as one of several fermented foods favored by the English. "And for our home-bred British cheer, Botargo (fish roe relish), catsup and cabiar (caviar)." 
Americans consume one-half billion bottles of ketchup per year. The chief ingredient of the modern version, after tomatoes, is high fructose corn syrup. A return to ancient preservation methods would transform American's favorite condiment from a health liability (produced in huge factories) to a beneficial digestive aid (produced as an artisanal product in farming communities).

*I needed to use some of my fermented fish sauce the other day, and since it smells naturally disgusting, I just didn't know if it was still good, so I had Keenan do some internet searching. We found some very amusing quips about fish sauce, including my favorites: "You make it with rotten fish. Can it get any more rotten?" and "When the big one hits, all that will be left is cockroaches and fish sauce." Needless to say, I think it keeps a long time.


  1. Nonie, you are, as ever, my hero! I have been wanting to make these. I even left some eggs out on the counter the other day to bring them to room temperature so I could do it. Alas, I wanted to vomit, so I didn't do it. This will motivate me. Thanks!

  2. Timely post Nonie! I finally made my first mayo two weeks ago. I would agree with you on doubling the lemon... and I think next time I will use at least half sunflower oil instead of all olive. The olive taste is just a little too strong for me (although that might be because of inbred expectations of mayo). But it did turn out very well! And not too liquid-y at all. I made some ranch dressing out of it too, using the recipe from

    I was the same way when I first heard of homemade mayo, syrup, etc. --- "wait, you can make those things yourself??" I'm a late-blooming pioneer, but my eyes are slowly being opened.

  3. You're amazing. How does the taste compare?

    1. Ariel, sorry I never answered this!

      I think the mayo tastes much better than store-bought. Meredith actually told me she wrote that comment the day she made hers, but soon afterward, the taste was much milder. I definitely prefer to use all olive oil in my mayo.

      The ketchup still makes me a little nervous. It doesn't taste bad, it's just different that what you expect when you put it in your mouth. It's growing on me. Keenan seems to love it.

  4. I just found your blog and love it!! This sounds so good! I've been using the "Made with Olive Oil" mayo for a while--but knew it was still pretty unhealthy with the vegetable oils. For the eggs--did you mean pasturized? Or just pastured?

    1. Thanks for reading! It's great to have more contributing commenters. :)

      As for the eggs, I did mean pastured, meaning, those from chickens allowed to roam free to eat the grass, bugs and whatever they please. Eggs from these hens will not be dangerous to eat raw (I don't think I'd dare eat the cheapest grocery store eggs raw). See if you can find a farmer or someone who has chickens so you don't have to pay an arm and a leg!