Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why Does Chopping Onions Make You Cry?

Onions contain an enzyme that creates their tear-inducing properties along with their distinctive flavor and smell. There are dozens of home-grown methods to reduce tears. You might try refrigerating the onion about 30 minutes before chopping, then cutting with a sharp, straight-edged knife. It also helps to cut the root end of the onion last because it has the highest concentration of tear-producing compounds. If you wear contact lenses, rather than eye glasses, this can help also. I also find keeping my mouth open helps prevent a buildup of the sulfuric acid fumes, reducing tears. Maybe Alice Cooper knows a secret we don't....... he sang "I Never Cry"...


  1. The tip I learned as a young beginner cook is just the opposite of what helps you...
    I was always told to make sure I never open my mouth, and it won't bother me cutting the onion up. I tried it and it worked!
    To this day, I refuse to open my mouth while chopping or slicing one.
    I also heard once a biscuit at the tip of your knife keeps you from crying, but I never tried that one. :)
    Enjoying your newsletter and now your blog!
    Keep up the great work!!

  2. Those are some really good tips. I do have one question, though. I used to work in a professional kitchen and the days I cut onions while wearing my contacts, it was worse. I used to have to stand in the walk-in cooler for 5 minutes to fix it. The onion smell or whatever would get trapped behind my contacts and it made it hundred times worse. When I wore my glasses, it was easier to just blink the onion stuff away.