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How to Chop Onions without the Tears
Posted by Samantha Jackson on 1/17/2013 to "How To" Guides

Ever wondered why your eyes are burning and tearing when chopping those pesky onions? Maybe you’ve pondered if there is a way to get around the crying. First off, there are three parts to an onion; the outer leaves, the scales, and the basal plate. The outer leaves are the crispy brown layer that you peel off. The scales are the firm white part, and the basal plate is the root. 

Now, onions make you cry because when the basal plate is damaged or cut, it releases an enzyme that interacts with the rest of the onion to make it release a gas. This gas works in such a way that when it combines with water, such as that which keeps your eyes wet, it creates an acid. Now you have acid in your eye, which causes you to tear. 

Have no fear though, there are several ways around this issue to make chopping your onions a tear-free time. If you use a very sharp knife, you can avoid the enzymes in the root. The enzyme is released when the cells are crushed or broken. With the use of a sharp knife, you will slice through, rather than cut and thus, create less enzymes. 

Another option is to chill your onions for 15 minutes in the freezer. By chilling the onion, you will reduce the amount of enzymes released into the air. This was actually found to be the most effective tear fighter. 

In addition to the previous, you can cut your onion under water, chop under a fume hood or fan with a strong draft to draw the gas away, wear goggles, wear contact lenses, soak the onion in water, or salt water, put vinegar on your cutting board, light a candle to draw the gas, or whistle while you work. Whistling creates good airflow making gases move away from your face and eyes. 

Make sure to always be careful when chopping, slicing, or dicing. The tearful ride ends here with these tips and tricks to make onion chopping a breeze and bring convenience to the kitchen.

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Eric Vechey Date 1/8/2014
Please respond to my emails or answer my calls. I am STILL missing an order from your company.
Ashaya Date 6/25/2015
Hi, Thanks for this article....much appreciated not only because of its quality but also because of the information that has been provided. Yes, after reading this article, chopping onion won't be a nightmare. ;) Best Regards, Ashaya Editor, KnifeAdvisor.com
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