Best Advice on How to Cut an Onion Without Tears
Cutting an Onion Without Crying? It Is Possible!
Ever since I can remember I was dreading the moment my mom would start cooking something that required onions in it. As soon as she started cutting the onions and then put them in the pan I fled the kitchen. The reason of course being - onions really hurt my eyes. I don't mean that my eyes get teary, I mean it really hurts!
When I started to cook, which by the way is one of my favorite things to do, the problem with the onions got even worse. Now I was the one leaning over the onions and over the pan with onions steaming away in it. So this problem caused me to start searching for the best way to avoid tears and the pain that came with it. I read every article I could find giving advice, read the forums and ended up trying out the most crazy things. But with no success.
And then a month or so ago I finall found the perfect cure from the most unusual source. And it worked! So here I will take you through my journey of finding the simple but very effective way to stop tears when cutting onions.
Photo courtesy: http://gardenofeaden.blogspot.com
Why Exactly Do Onions Make You Cry? - A Little Bit of Science
This sciene stuff is too complicated for me, so here is a short explanation from Wikipedia: "As onions are sliced or eaten, cells are broken, allowing enzymes called alliinases to break down amino acid sulphoxides and generate sulphenic acids. A specific sulfenic acid, 1-propenesulfenic acid, formed when onions are cut, is rapidly rearranged by a second enzyme, called the lachrymatory factor synthase or LFS, giving syn-propanethial-S-oxide, a volatile gas known as the onion lachrymatory factor or LF. The LF gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye, where it activates sensory neurons, creating a stinging sensation. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant. Chemicals that exhibit such an effect on the eyes are known as lachrymatory agents."
So basically it is the chemicals in the onion that turn into gas and lift up and reach your eyes and causes irritation.
Picture courtesy: http://vertebratepest.wordpress.com
Searching for The Best Solution
They Rarely Look Good. Or Succed.
First of course I stumbled upon advice to wear goggles when cutting onions. Luckily I do not own any goggles, so I did not make a total fool of myself, but I did try glases. Sunglasses that is. It helped a bit, but after a while the onion gas got to me and soon after starting to chop away, I couldn't see anything. It was the tears in my eyes and dark glasses :-) No luck there, so I started to search again.
Photo courtesy: http://www.abc.net.au
Other Solutions That Didn't Work
Following the goggles, were the advice on chilling the onions before cutting them. The next one was to cut the onions in the water. After that it was using a very sharp knife ...
Photo courtesy: http://www.bootstees.com
The Ultimate Solution
About a month ago, I was working on my computer and with an corner of my eye watching what my kids were watching on tv. It was a cartoon called "Cooking? Childs Play!" (original: "La cuisine est un jeu d'enfants") where the characters - the cook and two kids, cook and explain the recipe to the children watching. My kids can not cook yet, because they are too little, but they love helping me cook. Therefore they love this cartoon too.
And suddenly the cook says to the children: If you rinse the inner side of your wrist with cold water befere cutting an onion, your eyes won't get irritated. I stared into the scren with my mouth open. There was an advice that I have never heard of. But it came from a cartoon.
Next time I cut the onion I remembered this advice and rinsed the inner side of my wrist with cold water. IT WORKED! I was so surprised. Such a simple advice and I have never heard or red about it anywhere. And it really worked. Really. Worked :-)
A few days ago I was chopping the oinions again and forgot to rinse my wrists. My eyes started hurting as I remembered what I have forgot to do. And with hurting eyes that had just started to tear up, I ran to the sink and rinsed my wrists (again with cool water). And it worked again! My eyes started to feel better and the tears stopped almost in an instant. Seemed like a miracle :-)
BEFORE CUTTING AN ONION, RINSE THE INNER SIDE OF YOUR WRIST WITH COLD WATER.
THIS WILL STOP THE TEARS. REALLY, IT WILL.