It is a known fact around the world that cutting onions will make you cry. But have you ever stopped and asked yourself why this happens? Why do onions make you cry?
Onions are mainly made out of water and have some vitamins and sugar compounds. But they also have compounds contain sulphur. This is a natural chemical that is common among smelly substances like garlic and skunk spray. There is a specific sulphur compound called propyl sulfoxide, that is released when you cut an onion. When this compound mixes with moisture (either water vapour or the natural moisture found around your eyes) it becomes sulphuric acid. The chemical’s strong smell irritates and sting your eyes causing them to tear up.
How to cut onions without crying
There are countless tricks out there to cut onions without crying. Here are some we recommend you to try:
- Cutting onions under a kitchen vent or fan. The fan is meant to suck the sulphuric acid particles from the air preventing them from getting into your eyes.
- Freezing the onion. This supposedly delays the release of sulphuric chemicals into the air. If you are a fast chopper, this might be the way to go.
- Wearing googles. Coving your eyes with googles prevents the particles from entering your eyes. Just keep make sure no one photographs you doing this!
- Cut the root. Cut off the end of the onion with a bit of root in it before you start dicing. This part of the onion with the stringy roots releases most of the sulphuric compounds. So fewer tears are shed.
Before you start cutting your onions make sure you are using a good quality kitchen knife and chopping board. We recommend Sakai Kyuba x Oishya’s Chef Knife which is handmade in Japan to intensify the pleasure of home cooking.