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Cooking.Tips.Net Cooking Tips

Avoid Teary Eyes when Chopping Onions

When I have to cook, there is pretty much only one thing that I absolutely hate and look forward to with dread. That one thing is chopping, slicing, dicing, or just plain old cutting an onion. Quite literally, I don't even have to be the one doing the cutting; as long as I am in the room with an onion that is getting cut, I start to cry my eyes out. How often has that happened to you?

Well, I got so tired of succumbing to this common cooking malady that I decided to do a little research and experiment a little. Here are the answers that I found. All of these options work, though which one works best is going to be a matter of personal taste and preference.

  • Freeze. You don't need to freeze the onion solid, but if you store the onion in the freezer for up to 40 before cutting minutes you will cool the onion enough to release the juice which tends to cause teary eyes. You don't want to completely freeze the onion since it will make it more difficult to cut.
  • Sharpen your knives. Simply put, the sharper your knives are the quicker you are going to get the job completed. Take time to regularly sharpen your knives so you can get done before you are overcome by the juices and fumes and can't see anymore.
  • Cold water. Running an onion under cold water will help accomplish two things. The first thing that this does is to help chill the onion just enough that the gasses and juices which cause teary eyes don't flow as easily. The second thing is that the water will keep help dilute those juices or fumes enough that you should be able to complete the job quickly.
  • Protection. If you take a few protective measures, you are going to save yourself some seriously teary eyes. Wearing such things as rubber gloves and goggles will protect you from the gasses and juices which cause the teary eyes. You might just look a little silly, but it will definitely work.
  • Food processors. Quickly quartering the onion and putting the pieces into a food processor will reduce the time you are exposed to the gasses and juices. It's hard to get teary eyed if you don't get exposed to the juices. Once you have placed the onions into the food processor, turn it on and you are finished.
 

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Comments for this tip:

Bryan    02 Jun 2014, 07:37
According to Alton Brown, cutting near an open flame also helps. I've tried it and can anecdotally say that it seems to work. I've also noticed a big difference depending on the type and freshness of the onion. A Vidalia straight from the store doesn't cause a single tear, but a white onion that's been sitting in the pantry for a while will make you bawl.
 
 

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