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It’s a part of life….when you cut onions, you cry. But why? According to the Library of Congress, onions contain a chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. When you cut an onion, the onion releases the irritant gas and it stimulates the lachrymal glands in your eye and tears are released.
After years of suffering through the crying, I decided to do a little research on the matter and figure out the best way to prevent those tears from pouring down my face.
There are all sorts of opinions on the matter. Luckily, Lifehacker did a comprehensive research project on the topic and tested a variety of ideas floating around the internet. The results show a few techniques that actually worked. For the full analysis go here. In addition, these findings were also validated by a few leading cooking websites including TheKitchen.
Here are a few of the best ways to prevent those tears as you whip up your next culinary masterpiece.
1. Chill The Onions
Both Lifehacker and TheKitchen recommend freezing or chilling your onions. I personally started do this and it really works. While I occasionally get a little tear here and there, it dramatically helps reducing the crying. It’s also really easy to do. When I unload groceries, I always put the onions right into the refrigerator.
2. Cut Under A Vent
By cutting under a vent, the irritants the cause tears to run down your face will be sucked up by the vent. Like chilling your onion, this is also a very convenient approach.
2. Get Eye Protection
If all else fails, TheKitchen recommends putting on a pair of safety glasses or swimming goggles. While a little extreme, it does help prevent the irritants from getting in your eyes. Amazon sells a pair of goggles specifically designed for onion chopping. I would first try a pair of safety glasses or goggles first before shelling out any money.
Photo by Genista