Isn’t it just dreadful to cut onions? Crying our eyes out the whole time. Or even worse wear goggles. Finally, all that is now just a memory. This clip makes me genuinely happy. Now I never have to cry when cutting onions again.
Why onions make you cry
In a nutshell, it’s all about the chemicals. Science lesson: Onions contain naturally occurring amino acids called sulfoxides, and when you cut into them, their cell walls become damaged, says the Institute of Food Science and Technology. This causes the sulfoxides to be converted into a super-annoying and irritating gas. The gas breaths from the onion into your eyes, which start to sting and produce tears in an attempt to wash the gas away. If it wasn’t so painful, it would probably be pretty cool.
Like some of you, I’ve tried some crazy hacks so that I won’t cry when cutting onions. I skipped ones that seemed totally preposterous or dangerous, like trying to chop an onion in a bowl of water or holding a match in my mouth.
What works, what doesn’t
According to experts at the University of Bristol, the best bet for cutting the tears is to keep the gas away from eyes in the first place. If only it were that easy. Plenty of the tactics I found, recommended on website after website, seemed to involve taking steps to keep the gas at bay. But not all of them worked. And some of them were downright strange. Here are the ones that got the job done and those that were a total waste of time.
Tip 1: Freeze the onion.
Actually, cold slows the conversion of sulfoxides into those awful eye-stinging gases. So I stuck a peeled onion in the freezer, figuring that peeling it would help the cold better penetrate the deeper layers. Half an hour later, I started slicing. My hands felt like they were on the verge of getting frostbite, but I didn’t cry!
The verdict: It works.
Tip 2: Keep a piece of bread in your mouth.
This sounds totally ridiculous. And yet, it worked. Likely because the spongy texture of the bread (I held it between my front teeth with my lips slightly open) absorbed some of those noxious gases before they had the chance to float up to my nose and eyes. Plus who doesn’t love a little snack while they cook?
The verdict: It works.