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My dad brought 2 bottles of mayonnaise from Kuwait. When we opened the box, it looked like water/oil had come up above the other contents.

How can I fix this?

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Mayonnaise shouldn't split if it's properly made, so I would be rather suspicious of that product. –  citizen Sep 22 '12 at 16:09
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Here's how I'd fix it: when in doubt, throw it out. –  thursdaysgeek Sep 22 '12 at 18:53
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1 Answer

Your mayonnaise probably got a little too hot in transit.

Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil and water. That is, an emulsifier is added to a water-based ingredient that effectively coats droplets of oil and allows those droplets to dissolve into the water instead of coalescing and floating to the surface.

Lecithin is the most common emulsifier used. It is found abundantly in egg yolks.

The emulsion can be damaged if the mayonnaise is heated. When this happens the oil coalesces and you are left with a vinegary base with oil floating on top. Yum.

To fix it you have to reform the emulsion. There are many answers here about how to make or fix homemade mayonnaise. Briefly: You beat an egg yolk well with the water-based portion and then slowly drizzle the oil in while beating like mad until the mayonnaise is thick and white again.

The whole point of making homemade mayo is to use better quality oil and vinegar or incorporate different flavors. It really isn't worth your time trying to save commercial mayo.

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By incorporating fresh yolk, you are adding a risk to your mayo, so it shouldn't sit in your fridge for more than two days. –  BaffledCook Sep 22 '12 at 21:22
    
My first inclination would be to throw it out, but if you try the homemade fix, use pasteurized eggs for safety's sake. –  Kristina Lopez Sep 22 '12 at 23:26
    
@Kristina- Commercial mayo is very acidic and has preservatives as well. It is shelf stable if unopened. There really is no safety risk here- it's just a broken emulsion. –  Sobachatina Sep 24 '12 at 15:25
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Actually I was addressing BaffledCook's suggestion of fixing the broken emulsion by adding egg yolks. By doing so there is a chance of adding salmonella bacteria to the product which is why I suggested if taking that route, use pasteurized eggs. –  Kristina Lopez Sep 24 '12 at 16:21
    
@Kristina- My mistake. Sorry for the confusion. –  Sobachatina Sep 24 '12 at 16:26
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