How to cut an onion without crying

How to cut an onion without crying

Onions are used in multiple recipes to add flavor. Although they can make you cry, don’t stop including them in your meals! They taste great and are a healthy choice. How then, you ask, can we cut an onion without crying? Best solution: ask someone else to do it! But if you’re alone in the kitchen, here are some tricks that will help stop the tears.

Why do we cry when we cut onions?

Onions grow underground and when cut, they release molecules in the air that can irritate eyes. Typically, a burning and stinging in the eyes can be experienced and eyes naturally tear up in an effort to wash the irritating sensation away.

How do we avoid shedding tears?

Although quite amusing, wearing swim goggles works very well! They protect the eyes from the irritating molecule in the air and enable you to cut onions without shedding tears! If you don’t happen to have swim goggles in the kitchen, here are other helpful ideas:

  1. Use a very sharp knife with a smooth edge. Why? If you use a dented blade, the onion skin will tear and gas will be liberated much more quickly and irritate eyes.
  2. Use practical kitchen tools such as a food processor (manual or electric) or a mandolin.
  3. Drink water and keep it in your mouth, or chew gum while cutting the onions. If you are cutting multiple onions, it’s recommended you drink many times so that the water does not taste too bad (it will take in the odor). In addition to being efficient,  it’s healthy!
  4. Place onions in the freezer 10 minutes before cutting them. When the onion is cold, the quantity of irritating gases released in the air is reduced
  5. Cut your onions under water. Although quite complicated, the molecules that irritate the eyes stay under water. Nevertheless, this method takes away some of the flavor of the onions.
  6. Stick your tongue out when cutting the onions. Although you’ll look silly doing so, the humidity of the tongue will attract the irritating molecules before they get to your eyes. Be careful though, you’ll have onion breath!
  7. Whistle as you work. It’s great to spread the joy and it will blow the molecules away from the face and will have less chance of reaching your eyes!
  8. Cut onions under the kitchen air vent. If it works well, it will suck the air with the irritating molecules out of your way!
  9. When cutting the onions, as soon as you finish part of the work, put them aside. The gas will be dispersed in the air at a distance, farther from your eyes.

If you’re lucky enough to wear contact lenses, you won’t have any problems cutting onions! The lens acts as a barrier between the eye and the gas and you won’t shed a tear! You are having the same issues when cutting green onions, shallots or leaks? As all these products are from the same family, use the same tricks and you will avoid having irritated eyes. One thing is for sure, don’t stop eating these foods, they add flavor and are so good! Have you developed your own tricks over the years? Share them with us!

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