Chopping Onions make many people cry. The watery eyes and runny nose make many people avoid the cutting board when onions are involved. But alas, if we avoid onions altogether, we miss out on all of the onion’s incredible health benefits. Here is some insight into why the onion makes you cry and how to avoid the tears.
Here is a very simple and unscientific interpretation of how chopping onions makes you cry…
When you chop an onion you disturb the cell walls of the onion. When the cell walls are disturbed, a compound is released into the air in the form of a gas. When that gas hits your nose and eyes, it acts as an irritant to your sinuses, making you cry.
So how can you avoid crying when chopping onions? Here are some common tips and tricks to try:
• Light a candle and set it next to the cutting board. The candle burns the eye-irritating gas as is sucks oxygen toward the flame, so the gas never gets to your face.
• Refrigerate the onion for a few minutes before cutting. Chilling the onion slows down the release of gas when cutting the onion.
• Keep some goggles or glasses in the kitchen to wear when chopping onions. This will protect your eyes.
• Place a matchstick in between your teeth, the fumes will be caught in the match head and there will be no crying.
• Make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated or use a small fan to disperse the irritating compounds.
• A sharp knife reduces the disturbance of the onion’s cells, therefore reducing the compounds that are dispersed into the air.
• Breath with your mouth. Tears and sinus irritation are likely caused by inhaling the gas.
• Cut the onion under running water. The water will prevent the gas from
• Chew bread or gum. Many people report that chewing helps avoid tears when cutting onions.
• Use an onion chopping kitchen tool like this one: Alligator Original Onion Cutter/Dicer
Despite all the tears, the good news is that the more you chop onions, the more you develop a resistance to the irritating gas.