Anybody who has ever cooked or worked in the kitchen will know that the experience of cutting onions is always one that is an ordeal. Very few people can get away without tears while cutting onions and often, those are people who wear glasses or contact lenses. For years, everyone has been trying to find different ways to get rid of the painful process of dealing with tears while cutting onions. It’s a mystery that something magical hasn’t been invented yet to deal with this situation, but here’s the good news, there are different ways to fight the tear-fest while you cut your onions and if the first one doesn’t work, then you can try the others and one will definitely make the whole process so much easier.
But first, it’s important to understand why your eyes water when you’re cutting onions. Onions contain amino acid sulfoxides which forms sulfenic acids in the onion cells, and the enzymes and the sulfenic acid are kept separately in these cells. So when you cut the onion, the enzymes start mixing and produces a sulphur compound. A gas is emitted, which reacts with the water in your eyes and forms sulphuric acid, which causes the burning sensation in your eyes and this leads to tears.
Sharpen Your Knives
Very often, the tears are caused by the usage of not so good knives, so make sure you’re using a really sharp knife which will cause less damage to the cell walls and less of the sulphur compound will be released, taking it easy on your eyes.
Turn The Onions Over
As soon as you have cut the onion in half, turn them over so that the flat side is face down and away from you. As you cut the onions, move the sections into a bowl and set it as far away from you as possible.
Keep It Cold
Keep the onions in the fridge till you’re ready to cut it. Less propanethial S-oxide, which is part of the sulphuric compound, will evaporate and it won’t bother your eyes as much. While there will be some irritation, it won’t be as much with a regular onion. Just because we said cold does not mean that you must “freeze” it, only keep the onions in the fridge.
Use The Exhaust Fan
If you have a roof exhaust above your stove, you should definitely cut your onions close to this exhaust. The irritants will be instantly pulled away from your eyes and protect you from the burning sensation.
Try any or all of these methods and see if any of them work. And if they do, let us know!