July 6, 2022

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Food the meaning

The Best Ways to Cut Onions Without Crying


  • When you slash into an onion, it releases irritating chemicals into the air that make your eyes h2o.
  • There are tons of theories about avoiding onion tears, but only a number of are helpful.
  • Gurus recommend making use of a sharp knife when chopping, refrigerating your onions, or investing in distinctive gadgets.

It truly is occurred to the very best of us: you happen to be in the kitchen area, chopping up onions for your supper, when instantly, tears are flowing and your eyes are burning. 

“All food items have some protection system,” says Brian Chau, a self-utilized meals scientist and food stuff devices analyst who holds a Master’s degree in food programs and modern society from Oregon Health and fitness & Science College.

Onions have evolved above time to come to be tearjerkers, but making ready this sort of a scrumptious — not to mention typical — ingredient will not have to be a sob tale. Once you fully grasp why onions make you cry, avoidance is reasonably uncomplicated.

“Some persons are extra delicate to [onions] than other people, which may perhaps make them make extra tears,” claims Chef Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD, FAND, and creator of The Wholesome Epicurean.

Why do onions make you cry?

Close up of different types of onions in a basket.

Various forms of onions release distinctive quantities of the gasoline that results in the tears.

Lynne Daley/Getty Illustrations or photos


Onions’ tear-leading to qualities are much more than an annoyance. “Onions have designed a biochemical pathway to defend on their own from predators,” Chau suggests. When you reduce into the cells of an onion, they release the enzyme alliinase alongside with a spouse and children of compounds recognised as cysteine sulfoxides, Chau says.

Through a series of subsequent chemical reactions, a risky gas known as propanethial S-oxide is made and spreads as a result of the air.

“The body’s reaction to the gasoline touching the surface area of the eye is to develop tears to flush the fuel out of the eye,” suggests Andrews. Not all onions are equally annoying though: sweet onions and scallions incorporate a lot less sulfur than purple, white, and yellow onions, so they have a tendency to end result in a scaled-down reaction.

4 tried and genuine tips to reduce you from crying 

Person about to cut the end of a yellow onion on a cutting board.

A person of the very best strategies to prevent onion tears is by utilizing a sharp knife.

Karl Tapales/Getty Visuals


Scientific solutions are out there, but a swift on the web lookup for onion remedies may perhaps lead you to “hacks” that are additional grounded in optimism than in biology. In purchase to ward off or decrease tears, you’ll need to protect against the annoying gas from becoming produced in the 1st area, or prevent it from reaching your eyes.

These pro-permitted ideas are rated from simplest to most difficult, but be aware that mainly because anyone has a a little distinctive reaction to onions, some techniques may be additional helpful than some others.

1. Use a sharp knife

Trying to keep your knives sharp is usually fantastic observe, but specially crucial when functioning with onions. “A sharp knife triggers significantly less problems to the onion flesh, lowering the amount of fuel that is produced,” Andrews states.

A uninteresting knife will only make slicing and dicing far more tough, and will improve the volume of time you devote about risky gas, Chau states. Investing in a knife sharpener or buying up a new set of blades may not absolutely reduce crying, but it could retain it from getting to be a complete sob fest.

2. Refrigerate your onions in progress

The only thing that this idea involves is enough foresight to adhere your onions in the fridge right before you start out cooking. “This is most likely the best approach to check out,” Andrews says, and Chau agrees: “Chemical reactions slow down less than colder temperatures.” 

Position your onion in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes, and take out when you’re prepared to start slicing. Check out to perform quickly — as your onions warm up, you might come to feel your eyes begin to sting. Notice that holding onions in the fridge extensive expression can lead to them to spoil extra quickly, so you ought to only use this strategy when you system to use your onions correct absent.

3. Use eye protection

If you’re however struggling to get via food prep, check out developing a barrier between the gasoline and your eyes. Typical eyeglasses or sun shades can support, but Chau states that eye safety with a seal will be most effective for maintaining gasoline out. Specialized onion goggles are accessible and may perhaps be truly worth it just for the laughs, but swimming or security goggles can also do the job very well.

4. Use alternative kitchen resources

If you have the usually means, Chau recommends investing in specialty devices. “Get a fantastic foodstuff processor that has an attachment to dice or slice,” he suggests. “You lessen the likelihood of crying mainly because your publicity time is reduced and in some cases, the onions are in a closed atmosphere.” A reduced-price tag different is a vegetable chopper, which you can use with virtually any style of make and will help save you a ton of time on prep.

Debunking widespread hacks that never truly function

  • Chewing gum. Some men and women swear by this, but Chau states there is certainly no scientific reasoning to assist this hack for the reason that it isn’t going to protect your eyes or avoid the onion from releasing fuel.
  • Soaking your onions in drinking water. In accordance to Chau, water will only speed up a tearful reaction, and Andrews notes that tossing soaking wet onions into a pan could trigger sizzling oil to splatter and burn up you.
  • Keeping your breath. Respiratory in the annoying fuel introduced from your onions isn’t going to lead to tears, Chau claims — it is the reaction the gas will cause when it hits your eyes. Not to mention the risks of keeping your breath even though dealing with a sharp knife.
  • Microwaving your onions right before slicing. Using warmth really worsens the gaseous response, according to Chau, and could change the flavor of your onions.

Insider’s takeaway

When you slash into an onion, it releases substances that irritate the eyes and cause you to cry. There are heaps of phony hacks out there, but to cut down your chances of tears, use the sharpest knife doable and chill your onion in the fridge in advance. If all else fails, using eye defense or investing in specialty kitchen devices will preserve you from turning out to be a weepy mess.



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