Onions don’t want to be cut – plain and simple. Hence the painful tears experienced each time you brave one on a cutting board. This effect is their defense against us – their greatest predator.
According to the Institute of Food Science and Technology:
“Every time you cut an onion, you are being subjected to a chemical attack.”loading...
Sound pretty intense? Your body produces tears as a response, helping you clear the sulfuric gas away.
Some Ancient Egyptian scholars think that the harsh fumes from onions were once believed to bring the dead back to life. Maybe that’s why Egyptian pharaoh King Ramses IV was buried with onions in his eye sockets.
But for the rest of us wanting to avoid the fumes, here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Cut the Onion Underwater
Slicing your onions fully submerged in water traps the fumes and keeps your eyes dry and sting-free. You do want to be careful selecting the right container to do this in, however. You want a flat surface to cut against if you can help it, so we recommend really large mixer bowls with wide flat bases or deep casserole dishes.
You definitely don’t want to cut them inside of any sort of stovetop pan – the last thing you want is to ruin your precious kitchenware!
2. Freeze the Onion
Put your onion in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Be mindful how long you keep it in there – after the recommended amount of time, the onion tends to harden and become much more difficult to slice. Cutting a hard, slippery onion is risky, and you want to protect yourself from serious kitchen nightmares.
We suggest using a thick cloth to hold the onion down initially. It will give you a bit more traction and protect your hand in the process.
3. Cut them Under a Vent
If you have a microwave vent fan hanging over your stove, set the cutting board beneath it and kick it on. This will take in the sulfuric gases and keep your eyes on the task at hand instead of in tears.
4. Use a Small Fan to blow the Fumes Away
This is a similar philosophy as the vent fan. Place a fan next to your cutting board, flip it on, and enjoy a relaxing, tear-free onion experience as the fumes blow away.
5. Hold a Piece of Bread in Your Mouth
Don’t hold your breath on this one – literally, breathe through some bread. Place a piece of bread in your mouth just enough to have it hanging slightly off of your lips. It’s supposed to absorb the harsh gases of the onion and leave your eyes feeling dry and free.
If you tend to drool, keep a few slices on stand-by – you know, in case it gets too soggy or tempting to eat.
6. Cut with a Sharp Knife
As you cut into an onion, you are slicing through its protective membrane and releasing chemicals into the air. A sharper knife makes more efficient cuts and doesn’t damage as many cells.
Break out that old pair of swimming goggles or invest in chemical safety glasses. You might feel a little silly, but hey, at least you won’t be in tears.
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Source: Featured Image – wasteurtime