Here are simple ways to never cry again while cutting onions

Jul 20, 2018
08:36 P.M.
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This vegetable makes even the toughest of people tear up when cutting it, but there are ways in which this emotional display can be avoided by anyone. 


Onions are a pain to cut, but fortunately there are ways - aside from avoiding emotional attachments to the produce - that can help people to not cry over an onion while cooking. 

In order to understand why onions make people cry in the first place, it's important to speak about their biology. 

The root of the onion, or the basal plate, consists of an enzyme, which reacts with the rest of the onion to form a gas. When this gas reacts with water, it then forms an acid. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons


Because eyes consist of water, the gas ends up forming this acid in the eyes, causing the burning sensation that precedes the unnecessary flow of tears. 

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid this problem. 

Use a sharp knife

It's imperative that onions are cut with a sharp knife. The cells that realize the enzymes are as a result of being broken or crushed, which happens much more easily with a blunt knife.

A sharp knife will result in cutting the cells apart, and release less gas. 

Source: Shutterstock


Cut them under water

While this may seem tricky to start with, it becomes easier with practice. It also prevents the gas from spreading to your eyes in the first place, allowing the onions to form their acid in the water instead. 

Slice onions near steam

A hot jar of water near the onions is all this trick takes, and the steam will draw the gas of the onion, dissipating it before it can reach your eyes. 

Breathe through the nose

While this one may seem a bit ridiculous, it's a bit less sad than crying over cut onions. Stick out that tongue, and breathe through the nose. This works because the olfactory nerves are located close to the tear duct nerves.


Add a lemon to the mix

Cut a lemon in half, and rub it on the knife prior to cutting the onion. 

Source: Shutterstock

Freeze the onions first

Putting the vegetable in the freezer for half an hour before cutting helps to slow the release of the enzymes. 

If none of these tricks work, there's always the option of investing in a pair of goggles to cover the eyes completely!