Someone described onions as bad lovers because they make people cry. That was an amusing food for thought. So what is it that makes tears flow freely when you’re slicing onions? Is it possible to slice onions without shedding tears?
Well, research unearthed the fact that onions contain some chemicals that react and are released as an unstable sulphuric compound when onion cells are “crushed”. It is this gaseous component that reacts with your tears to form sulphuric acid which irritates the eyes and make you “cry”. The tears are released to wash off the acid.
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Yes. Let’s peel off the layers and reveal the different ways to avoid the sting and tears that occur when cutting an onion.
1. Onion Goggles
It sounds funny but this is one effective way of slicing onions without tears. And yes, some smart people made what is called onion goggles. It’s supposed to be air-tight and so acts as a barrier to the sulphuric gas that get into your eyes. The catch is that it has to be the right size so as to completely seal your eyes off. If you can’t find the specialised onion goggles, use your swimming goggles.
It has been tried and tested. Freezing onions does stop the stinging sensation that occurs when cutting up this nutritious bulb. The idea is that the frozen cells make it impossible for the chemicals and enzymes to mix and form that sulphuric gas. Just freeze the onions for about 15 to 20 minutes before you slice them. Don’t freeze for too long.
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3. The Water Ways
You know the idea is to keep the stinging gas away from your eyes so run your tap or get someone to keep pouring water as you slice the onions. You can also try cutting them in a sink or basin full of water. It is believed that the water dissolves the enzymes before they have time to turn into those volatile gas molecules.
4. Blow Them Away
Some people will tell you to whistle your favourite tune while slicing. This is not to charm them with mesmerising tunes but to blow the gases away from your eyes. Others will suggest using a fan to achieve the same thing: get those molecules out of your eyes.
Dilute vinegar with water and smear or spray lightly on a cutting board before you commence to cut your onions. The supporters of this method believe that the vinegar will discourage the enzymes from frolicking together to form the sulphuric compounds. They also recommend using undiluted vinegar if the diluted mixture doesn’t work.
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I know that vinegar does help to get the smell of sulphur out of your clothes so I guess it makes sense that this method works. Have you tried it? Let us know in the comment section.
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Noted. Thanks for sharing.
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