How to Cut Onions Without Crying
Cutting onions is great if you’re digging the emotional release. But other than that, it’s pure torture and take hours without a chopper as we’re mostly busy wiping away tears than getting any actual work done.
The waterworks are the courtesy of syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the chemical/enzyme released by onions, which is an irritant to the eye. While we definitely cannot control how nature works, we can definitely apply some tips and tricks which will help us to cut onions without crying.
So, if you are looking for solutions to this teary mess, here are some excellent ways on how to cut onions without shedding tears:
Using a Very Sharp Knife to Cut the Onions
While many of us do not realize this, but using a sharp knife will go a long way to stop the tears. More of the chemical diffuses out when the cell walls and membranes of the onion are broken or crushed. It is no surprise that a blunt knife will do this.
A sharp knife, on the other hand, will allow you to make a smooth cut that slices through without destroying the cell walls. Hence, less of the chemical will be released meaning fewer tears on your end!
Chilling the Onions in the Freezer
One of the most efficient ways to cut onions without tearing up is definitely chilling them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (maximum 20 mins) prior to the cutting. The theory behind this is that chilling the onions minimizes the amount of enzyme released in the air. So, it does not make you cry as much as it would have were they to remain in room temperature. Besides, chilling doesn’t bring any changes to the taste of the onions either. It’s a win-win situation here.
If you prefer, you may refrigerate the onions instead of freezing. But do keep in mind that they will release a damp smell if you keep it in too long. Also, avoid putting them next to apples or potatoes as everything will start smelling like onions in the fridge if left uncovered.
Wearing Gas-Tight Goggles or Masks on Your Face
If you are looking for the best way to cut onions, this is it. Just find a pair of swimmer’s goggles or chemistry goggles that you use in the labs and put them on before you get down to the business.
This is a sure technique that will work for anybody. Considering the goggles fit you properly, the chemical will not reach your eyes. However, if they do not, chances are you will still be crying by the end of your attempt. Nevertheless, this is probably the most effective way to shield your eyes from the chemical.
If you plan to buy one of those special onion goggles that claim they fit everyone, then do not. Most often than not, the goggles do not help and are a waste of your money. On a different note, no need to ditch your optical glasses (if you wear one) for the goggles, it will never be worth the risk.
Breathing in Through the Mouth
The olfactory nerves are located close to the nerves of your tear ducts. So, when you breathe in through your nose, you will tear up. However, breathing in through your mouth with your tongue stuck out will divert the chemical away from your nose and towards your mouth. This detour of the chemical will keep the waterworks at bay and make the process much easier.
But this process will require much focus on your part because if you do forget and breathe through your nose, all the hard work will go to waste.
Running the Vent Hood
There is never any single best way to cut onions without crying. With all the other tips, this works as a supplementary method. Instead of your usual spot, opt for the spot next to your stove where the exhaust fan is. Turn the fan on at full speed, this will draw the enzyme away from you, protecting your eyes from the sting and preventing the tears.
Now that you’re aware of all this new information, you can chase away those tears and educate others who might have similar questions like you on how to cut onions without shedding tears. Following these few easy tips and tricks will certainly make the experience less of a hassle and less tiresome.