Remember that scene from Pulp Fiction when Vincent talked about how they used mayonnaise on fries instead of ketchup? Well, the last time I checked, that still hadn’t caught on in the United States, but mayonnaise is still one of the most popular condiments around.
It’s used in everything from salads to casseroles to desserts and more! So, we already know it’s safe to prepare foods with mayonnaise, but what about reheating it? After all, one of the key ingredients, egg yolks, can go bad within a couple of hours at room temperature.
The short answer is that mayonnaise is safe to heat in the microwave. While it won’t pose any health risks, overheating can lead to a less than desirable texture and mouth feel because of oils used in the condiment. The reheating process will heat the oil up much more quickly than the protein of the egg yolk and cause it to separate. If the reheating continues, the yolks themselves can cook.
A good rule of thumb is that 10-15 seconds should be sufficient.
Why Commercial Mayonnaise Is Microwave Safe
The good news is that commercially available mayo has a long shelf life. Most brands that you’ll find in your local grocery store will last a few months. Of course, you’ll always want to confirm that by checking the date stamped on the jar.
They contain ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar and citric acid. Combined, these ingredients bind the eggs and oil together through what’s called emulsification. In addition, they are potent anti-bacterial agents and act as preservatives, which reduces the rate of spoilage.
Interestingly, there was a study performed by the Journal of Food Protection which showed that commercially produced mayo was effective at slowing the growth of harmful bacteria like salmonella due in part to the ingredients used in the manufacturing process.
|Shelf life||Most commercially available mayo has a long shelf life, lasting a few months. It is always recommended to check the expiration date on the jar.|
|Ingredients||Mayonnaise is made with ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar and citric acid, these ingredients work together to emulsify the eggs and oil together and also act as natural preservatives.|
|Preservation||The ingredients in mayo act as anti-bacterial agents which help slowing down the spoilage process.|
|Bacteria Growth||Studies have shown that commercially produced mayonnaise can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as salmonella, this is due to the preservative ingredients used in the production process.|
What About Homemade Mayo? Can It Be Heated?
Since most homemade mayonnaise recipes also call for a similar list of ingredients, it’s safe to heat it up as well.
That said, you are probably better off only using homemade mayo in this manner within the first week or of preparing it and only with pasteurized eggs or pasteurized egg products – better safe than sorry!
In fact, an NIH study has shown that using raw eggs, even in the presence of preservatives like citric acid, wine vinegar, or lemon juice can still contain the potential for harboring salmonella.
|Homemade Mayo Heating||Homemade mayonnaise can be heated as it also contains ingredients similar to commercial mayo.|
|Time frame||It is recommended to use homemade mayo within a week of preparation and using pasteurized eggs or egg products to avoid salmonella.|
|Raw Egg Warning||A study by NIH has shown that using raw eggs, even with preservatives like citric acid, wine vinegar, or lemon juice, can still harbor salmonella.|
Can You Grill With Mayonnaise?
Mayo is an almost perfect complement to any dish you plan on grilling. Besides meats like chicken, fish and steak, mayonnaise works well with veggies too. Avocadoes, tomatoes and potatoes will all spring to life with the tangy bite that only mayo can deliver.
The Delicious Science of Heating Mayo
As mentioned previously, mayo is an emulsion. The blend of oil and egg yolk gives it unique characteristics that enable it to stick readily to the surface of food without adhering to the cooking surface. Unlike cooking with oil only, mayo releases the oils contained within it more slowly and evenly.
This unique ability allows food to brown in a chemical manner. There’s a technical term for this – the Maillard reaction – and is the process by which sugar and proteins work in combination when heated to produce a golden brown color.
|Emulsion||Mayonnaise is a type of emulsion, which means it’s a blend of oil and egg yolk that gives it its unique characteristics.|
|Cooking Characteristics||Mayonnaise is different from cooking with oil only because it releases the oils contained within it more slowly and evenly.|
|Browning||The unique properties of mayo allows food to brown chemically, through a process called the Maillard reaction which is a chemical reaction between sugar and protein that occurs when heated and produce a golden brown color.|
Cooking Ideas For Hot Mayonnaise
Now that you know how versatile mayo can be, why not try it out on some of your favorite meals?
For example, instead of slathering butter on your next grilled cheese sandwich, try swapping that out with mayo and taking the golden crust to a whole new level.
Or maybe you’re looking for a way to add some zest to your next baked chicken or fish meal. Instead of using your favorite oil, substitute some mayonnaise in its place.
The possibilities are only limited by your creativity and your palate, so don’t be afraid to try something new!
|Cooking Ideas||Mayonnaise can be used in a variety of ways in cooking.|
|Example||Instead of butter, mayo can be used to take the golden crust to a whole new level on grilled cheese sandwiches.|
|Substitute||Mayonnaise can be used as a substitute for oil to add zest to baked chicken or fish meals.|
|Creativity||The possibilities of using mayo in cooking are limited only by one’s creativity and taste.|
Mayo Is More Than a Condiment…
Not only is mayonnaise a delicious and versatile condiment, but it also lots of other handy applications.
Gets Rid Of Water Spots On Wood
The properties of mayo, specifically the moisture contained within it, allow it to displace hard to remove water stains. Simply apply it to the area you want to treat and then after three or four hours, wipe it off. Simple!
Erase Crayon Scribbles With Ease
Little ones being little ones, they can get overzealous with their crayon creativity and leave a rainbow colored trail of destruction in their wake. Thanks to the oily nature of the ingredients in mayo, they act as an effective means of eliminating the streaks after a quick application and wipe up.
Gives You Finger Print Free Stainless Steel
Having trouble making your kitchen appliances shine the way you hoped? No problem! With a microfiber cloth and bit of mayonnaise, you can restore that lustrous glow in minutes.
Get That Well-Groomed Glow
Believe it or not, that humble jar of mayo can work wonders on your skin. From exfoliation to strengthening brittle nails to soothing sunburn relief, a little dab of it goes a long way.
|Versatility||Mayonnaise is not only a delicious condiment, but it has other handy applications.|
|Water Spots||Mayonnaise can be used to remove hard to remove water stains on wood. Simply apply it and wipe it off after a few hours.|
|Crayon Scribbles||Mayonnaise can be used to remove crayon scribbles on walls thanks to its oily nature.|
|Finger Prints||Mayonnaise can be used to remove fingerprints on stainless steel appliances.|
|Skin Care||Mayonnaise can be used for exfoliation, strengthening nails, and soothing sunburn relief on skin.|
Hey there, I’m Melody! I’m a lifelong foodie and love talking about it to anyone who’s willing to listen (or read!) about my opinions. My favorite pastimes include cooking, eating my cooking and thinking about what I’m going to make next!