Learn how you can cut an onion without shedding a single tear. You will discover several ways to cut onion and the science behind such an unusual property of the vegetables. The methods are easy to follow and they will definitely help you to solve the problem with slicing raw onions!
Onion, like any vegetable, has some important benefits for human health with vitamins and minerals that it contains. The scope of recipes where you use onion is vast and diverse. You can have it raw, pickled, boiled, steamed, sautéed, and deep-fried. However, before the onion gets to our table ready-made, it has to be cut. And, at this moment, a completely logical question arises, how to cut onions and not burst into tears.
The first thing to figure out is why it is so hard to cut an onion without crying. There is quite an easy explanation. The thing is that onion contains lachrymator – a chemical that irritates the mucous membrane in your eyes. Thus, when the knife slices through an onion, our eyes release tears to protect our eyes from the vapors of the lachrymator and dissolve them before they affect the eye.
Taking into consideration all the information above, you can say that there are two main ways to prevent you from crying. To reduce the amount of this gas that is released or to prevent it from reaching your eyes. And all the methods to cope with the problem come to these two goals.
Always remember that you can substitute onion for spring onion!
Let see what you should do to prevent yourself from crying while cutting onion:
- Use a sharp knife. The state and quality of your kitchen utensils are some of the most important things for safe cooking. Always choose a sharp, smooth knife without teeth for cutting onions – this way the process will go as quickly as possible and significantly less juice will be released.
- Sticking to the utensils. You can use a food processer or a blender with a blender that shuts for chopping onion. Unfortunately, you can use it to cut an onion into small pieces, not slices and rings. Do not set the maximum speed; otherwise, the onion will turn into puree.
- Cold also can help you as it reduces the activity of the lachrymator. Leave onion for at least 30 minutes in the freezer and your knife in the fridge for 15 minutes before cutting.
- Lachrymator also has the property to dissolve in water. So, before cutting onion leave it in a bowl with cold water for 15 minutes, and then when slicing keep washing the knife under cold running water for almost every other cut.
- You can smear your cutting board with lemon juice or vinegar, as they can neutralize the tear effect of onion. Sprinkled coarse salt over the cutting board can have the same effect as it absorbs the juices from the onion.
Now let see how we can prevent this chemical from simply reaching our eyes through the air:
- Always turn on the kitchen hood while cutting onions and make sure to place yourself near it. Tear gases will evaporate faster than they reach your eyes.
- Cut the onion next to boiling water on the stove, the steam from which can disperse tear gases. Alternatively, you can first chop the onion into large pieces, dip them in boiling water for a few minutes, and then continue chopping the onion without tears. Be careful not to burn yourself.
- Fire can oxidize the lachrymator. Therefore, if you have a gas oven you can cut onion near the working stove or you can light a candle nearby. Be careful not to burn yourself and the utensils. Stay safe, onion is not worth it!
More awkward methods that do not work all the time:
- Put some water in your mouth and keep it until you finish cutting the onion. They say that this manipulation prevents the flow of tears.
- You can chew parsley or gum while you chop the onion. This method oxidizes and neutralizes the substances that cause tears.
- The most obvious method is to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose while cutting onions. Thus, the vapors of the lachrymator do not affect the nasal mucosa and cause fewer tears. Not a full-proof method, unfortunately.
Have you ever tried one of the methods that I have here? Were they helpful? If you have some other advice, please, share them with everybody in the comment section below.