It’s been about a decade since I last bought a jar of mayonnaise. Not because I don’t like it. On the contrary. Mayonnaise is an incredibly versatile condiment, at home on a turkey sandwich, in potato salad or deviled eggs. There are even some pretty good cake recipes that call for it. It also happens to be shockingly simple to make. Once you learn the secret of homemade mayonnaise, you may also leave the store-bought stuff behind and find yourself exploring its many great uses, including quite a few that don’t involve eating it.
This basic recipe will get you started. Flavorings may be adjusted, but the balance of egg, vinegar and oil must be adhered to for successful emulsion (the process that allows the oil and egg to combine). Farm-fresh eggs are recommended, due to salmonella concerns associated with raw egg.
2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups vegetable or olive oil
Instructions: Combine eggs, vinegar and spices in a blender. With blender running, slowly add oil until desired consistency is reached.
Voila! Homemade mayo in less than 2 minutes. If you have a stick blender, ingredients can be blended in a pint jar to eliminate the need to transfer for storage.
The magic that is mayonnaise does not end with lunch. This perfect blend of oil, acid and protein can be used in unexpected ways well beyond tuna salad. Consider some of these great uses for homemade (or even store-bought) mayo outside the kitchen.
1. Sunburn relief: Cold mayonnaise will soothe a sunburn, provide much-needed moisture and the vinegar even serves as a natural anesthetic.
2. Remove tar: Apply a bit of mayo to road tar, let it rest a few minutes, then wipe it clean.
3. Condition hair: Mayonnaise is a nearly perfect combination of moisturizing oil and nutrient-building egg proteins to help revitalize dry hair. After washing hair, apply a thin treatment of mayonnaise and let rest one hour before rinsing to bring body and shine back to damaged hair.
4. Shine houseplants: An old trick. Rub a little mayo onto plant leaves with a paper towel and wipe clean to add a healthy shine to houseplants.
5. Strengthen fingernails: Immerse fingers in mayonnaise for 5 minutes or so to strengthen nails and restore cuticle health.
6. Kill lice: A thick coating of mayonnaise applied to the hair and left overnight will kill lice without the need for expensive chemical treatments. Nits are not affected, and multiple applications would be necessary to fully eradicate those pesky critters.
7. Lubricate hinges: All out of WD? Smear a little mayo on a door hinge to stop that squeak.
8. Restore wood furniture: Water stains will wipe away with a brief application. If cracks have formed on wood surfaces, fill the cracks with mayonnaise, and leave it for a few days before wiping clean. The combination of oil and protein will cause the wood to swell, closing up those unsightly scratches and gaps.