The off-white glistening condiment used in salads, dressings, sandwiches — even holiday gelatin side dishes dating back from the 1950s — continues to be a staple across the U.S.
A U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), conducted by Statista, projected that by 2023 the number of Americans who use mayonnaise and mayonnaise-based products will increase to 277.43 million.
Worldwide, the gluten-free food market is estimated to grow from 3.73 billion U.S dollars to 6.43 billion U.S dollars. The targeted group for this ever-evolving market not only includes people suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, but also individuals aiming for a more health-conscious lifestyle.
Now, what exactly is gluten? It is a type of protein that is commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. Often associated with bread and baked goods, it can be found in many other foods and beverages. Which brings us back to mayonnaise.
There are several misconceptions about mayonnaise. Some folks are under the impression that the condiment contains dairy. It does not.
Others question if mayonnaise products are safe to eat when on a gluten-free diet. Yes, it is.
If you’ve been wondering about whether mayonnaise is truly gluten-free, here’s everything you need to know, including certain factors you should be on the lookout for.
Watch Out for Salad Dressings, Sauces, and Soups With Mayo
Gluten is sometimes found in food products that include mayo as a key ingredient, but it does not usually come from the mayonnaise itself. The gluten found often stems from ingredients that have been added to this creamy condiment.
Soups, sauces, salads and dressings that are mayonnaise-based typically start off gluten-free. It is when other gluten-containing additives are introduced into the mixture, such as soy sauce, malt flavoring or wheat flour, that the mayonnaise-based recipe becomes contaminated.
Vinegar is Fine, But Avoid Malt Vinegar
Those who have celiac disease are advised to avoid malt vinegar. This ingredient is frequently rendered from barley or rye and is not distilled.
Without distillation, the gluten from the grains remain. When the vinegar undergoes the extraction process, the gluten is removed, making it safe to consume for those wishing or needing to avoid the protein.
The Gluten Intolerant Group (GIG) warns individuals to be wary of manufactured goods that have vinegar listed in the ingredients of a product that has not been certified or labeled as gluten-free. If the product is not certified, the culprit ingredient could potentially be malt vinegar, which means the merchandise could contain gluten.
Most types of vinegar are prepared from gluten-free ingredients. Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and even balsamic vinegar are all great replacements or additions to use when making mayo at home.
Lemon juice can be added or used as an alternative for vinegar when making mayonnaise. Consider reading the label carefully when it comes to processed lemon juice.
Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, but certain processed, packaged produce may not be.
Always read the list of ingredients of any processed foods.
Most Oils Used in Mayonnaise are GF
The majority of oils used in mayo recipes are gluten-free. Examples include canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, soybean oil, avocado oil and vegetable oil.
Because cross contaminations can occur, be sure to thoroughly read the label. When it comes to flavored oils, read the back to ensure the oil is truly gluten-free, as some seasonings added to oils may contain gluten.
Eggs or No Eggs, the Mayo Should be Fine
Meats and eggs, in their natural state, are gluten-free.
For vegans or other individuals who prefer to go for mayonnaise that is vegan, there are egg-free options on the market. Different homemade recipes endorse using an egg substitute. Swapping unsweetened soymilk and oil can mimic the thick, rich consistency found in store-bought mayonnaise as well.
Those who want mayonnaise products that are vegan or made with cage-free eggs should also look into recipes for homemade mayo. In fact, sometimes going the DIY route is the best way to go when you’re trying to avoid gluten.
DIY = Gluten-Free, Guaranteed
When in doubt, make your own mayonnaise!
A straightforward way to ensure your mayo is gluten-free is to make your own. This easy, quick mayonnaise recipe does not require a food processor, just a whisk or fork — and your taste buds.
Whisk egg yolk, extra-virgin olive oil, and white wine vinegar. To add a little flavoring, try adding some herbs, like dill, chili or mustard seeds.
Put your gluten-free homemade mayonnaise in a sealed container and leave it in the fridge. Your homemade mayonnaise should last you about two weeks. Be sure that if you do have an intolerance, sensitivity to gluten or have been diagnosed with celiac disease, that only new utensils touch your food.
When dipping into the container with your delicious DIY mayo, inform roommates, family members or freeloaders in your household to not use any utensils that have had contact with any gluten-containing foods.
So go ahead. Slather on that mayo and enjoy your gluten-free condiment.
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