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Don't cry - it's an onion

"When an onion is cut, the ruptured onion cells release enzymes which break down nearby sulfur compounds into oxides and acids. These re-form to make a gas. This gas moves into your eyes and then mixes with your tears to form sulphuric acid." – Alton Brown

Tightwad has resorted to wearing her kid's swimming goggles when faced with the task of cutting white onions. Luckily however, there are other approaches.

1. Soak the onions in cold water for 5 minutes and keep them under the cold water tap when you peel them.
2. Place onions in the freezer before you slice them.
3. Place a small piece of bread on the tip of the knife before slicing onions.
4. Chew gum.
5. Rub vinegar on the chopping board.
6. Breathe through your mouth.

What do you do to stop the waterworks when slicing onions?


Jennifer said...

I've heard lighting a candle and placing it near where you are chopping helps burn off the gas before it reaches your eyes. Sometimes this works for me, sometimes it does not

Johane said...

Actually, what works well for me is to pat the cut edges of the onion with paper towel - especially when juicy. I don't mean every edge when dicing the onions, I mean when you cut off the roots and the top, and then slice in 2. Pat those edges four edges and it takes care of the biggest tear issues. Considering that I'm highly susceptible to the tears due to an allergy, I'm always looking for ways to deal with the tears, and this way works well.

Once the tears hit, I'm blinded immediately. A cold wet towel works to help control the tears after they system has been triggered. Not convenient, but more easily doable at home... When I worked in the business I'd go in the walk-in freezer for a minute to shut the reaction down...

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