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How to Properly Cut Onions Without Tearing Up?

Nadia Galinova
Translated by
Nadia Galinova
Cutting onions without tearing up

Watery eyes when cutting onions is a rather unpleasant condition and causes negative emotions. Why do we actually cry while cutting onions? This is because onions release the substance allinase, which releases an irritant molecule called syn-Propanethial-S-oxide or propantial and it is the irritant to the eye, which causes tears to be produced.

This molecule is a sulfur essential oil, that is registered by the receptors in the nasal cavity and acts as an irritant on the mucous membrane. There are some tricks that can reduce the pungent substances as well as minimize their effects.

Ways to Cut Onions Without Your Eyes Tearing Up

• Rub the board on which you cut onions with lemon. The strong onion smell will not get into the board and you can ease the procedure.;

• Before cutting, keep the knife in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. When the knife is very cold, cutting will not emit such a strong smell that irritates the eyes.

• The knife must be smooth and sharp. A worn knife makes it difficult to cut and the release of a pungent smell is stronger;

• When you start cutting onions, turn on the kitchen hood. The air will move and this will relieve the effect on the eyes. You can also cut with the window open, which will have the same effect;

Cutting onions

• Another option is to keep the onion in the freezer for an hour before cutting it. Cold onions give off a less pungent smell.

• Before cutting, place the knife in chilled water or vinegar. This simple trick reduces tear production;

Glasses for cutting onions

• Boil water while cutting the onion. The steam will disperse the pungent fumes during operation;

• Shops sell onion cutting glasses. They help reduce the effect of harmful fumes that make the eyes water.

• Another option is to cut the onion into large pieces, put them in boiling water and after a few minutes, finely chop them.

• Cutting the onion lengthwise - from the top to the bottom instead of the middle reduces the strength of the smell and the amount of tears. Using a food processor will intensify the aroma.

Since none of all the invented possibilities completely eliminates the problem, onions can be replaced with spring onions, since tearing is avoided with them, although it slightly changes the taste of the food.

If you like to cook with onions, we suggest you try our recipes for:

- livers with onions;

- stuffed onions;

- potato salad with onions;

- onion stew;

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