Hated by some, beloved by most, mayonnaise is a condiment not without its fair share of controversy. One of the biggest arguments being whether mayo has to be refrigerated. This question becomes even more prominent when we have to take vegan mayo into consideration as well!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a majority of commercially produced mayos require refrigeration after opening. Vegan mayo, since it is compositionally similar to regular mayo with some differences, should be treated like regular mayo and also be refrigerated after opening. Another option, homemade mayo, needs storing in the fridge the entire time as it is perishable.
It is extremely important to read labels on all mayo packaging as the best directions should come straight from the manufacturing companies themselves. However, we can and should learn the recommendations and reasons why vegan mayo needs to be stored in certain ways, and the same goes for any type of mayo!
What is Vegan Mayo Made From
One of the best parts of being vegan is the emphasis placed on ingredients and understanding where our food is sourced from. Regular mayonnaise is a condiment made from vegetable oil, egg yolks, vinegar or lemon juice, and seasoning. Vegan mayonnaise is made from similar ingredients but instead of eggs, it contains soy or pea protein, soy milk, or aquafaba.
A more specific example would be Vegenaise (Amazon link). Vegenaise includes expeller-pressed canola oil, filtered water, brown rice syrup, apple cider vinegar, soy protein, sea salt, mustard flour, lemon juice concentrate. This is representative of many manufactured vegan mayos. Vegan mayo uses vegetable proteins, such as soy, in place of eggs.
Homemade vegan mayo, on the other hand, can be made with a variety of ingredients including tofu and nuts! However, since homemade vegan mayo does use more natural and raw ingredients, it is far more perishable than even manufactured mayo and must be stored in a stricter manner.
How Long Can Vegan Mayo Sit Out
The United States Food and Drug Administration has an interesting rule when it comes to leaving condiments to sit out, no matter the type of manufacturing process. This is known as the “Two-Hour Rule.” Essentially, the Two-Hour Rule states that no condiment should be kept out and unrefrigerated for longer than two hours. Of course, this time limit can vary.
Vegan mayo can be kept out longer if it is in an ice bowl, however, if it is extremely warm or humid in the area it may not be able to last the full two hours.
Vegenaise manufacturers do mention that “ Vegenaise may remain unrefrigerated (up to room temperature) for 24 hours” however, it is best to remain safe and avoid leaving any condiments out for over two hours. Especially vegan and homemade products as they have fewer preservatives that allow regular mayo to last longer.
How Long Does Vegan Mayo Last in the Fridge
Vegan mayo can last in the fridge for up to two months given that it is stored at the proper temperature.
For example, the Vegenaise manufacturer mentions that “the ideal temperature range for Vegenaise is refrigerated at 36-41°F. However, it is recommended you store Vegenaise on the door of your refrigerator, or anywhere in the refrigerator away from the fan.” Also, refrigeration is just as important for preventing bacterial growth as it is for maintaining quality.
Can You Freeze Vegan Mayo
No! Do not freeze your vegan mayo or any type of mayo! This might seem a bit dramatic but it is vital that you do not put your mayo in the freezer.
Mayo is an emulsion of various ingredients. An emulsion means that the ingredients are dispersed throughout the mixture that are not usually miscible with one another under regular circumstances.
When mayo is frozen, the emulsion is broken and the vegetable oils separate from the solids. It is then extremely difficult to return the mayo mixture to its original state.