Cutting Onions the Tearless Way

It may be present in most foods, but that doesn’t mean they are easy to prepare.  Onions, when cut, can bring tears to the eyes – literally.  But there are ways that can make you slice onions without shedding tears.

Many old wives’ tales surround the preparation of onions.  Some say you have to chew on a wooden matchstick or put a lighted incense near the chopping board in order to avoid the sting.

But there are more scientific ways on how to avoid the wrath of onions when you slice them.  Here are a few suggestions:

-          You can freeze the onions for about half an hour before slicing them.  This would slow down the release of the compound that is the culprit in making your eyes water.

-          Peel the onions, cut off the top portion but not the roots.  Slice the onions into small sections and then smaller still, depending on your preference.  Only slice off the roots once you are done.

-            To avoid the sting, out the onions in a bowl of cold water.  Add about a tablespoon of sea salt per quart of water.  This should dilute the sulfuric compound in onions without affecting its taste.

-          Never use a blunt knife to slice onions.  The blunter the knife you are using, the more sulfuric compounds the onion releases.

-          Simply make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area, or in a place near an exhaust fan or open windows.

-          If you have a food processor, use it.  It’s easy and certainly no tears!

-          Use swimming goggles to keep the compounds away from your eyes.

Currently, scientists from New Zealand together with Japanese scientists have developed onions that are friendly to the eyes.  However, it will be another decade or so before it becomes commercially available.

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