If we cry when we peel or chop our onions it’s because they contain sulfur components, and an enzyme called alliinase. It’s a natural defense mechanism to prevent animals eating them. When cutting onion, the alliinase contained in cells volatilizes. It only remains to neutralize alliinase and we will stop crying!
When chopping the onion, alliinase volatilizes in the air, so we have two options: avoid contact between the irritant component and our eyes, or simply neutralize it at the source.
Several solutions are available to us.
1. If you wear goggles, your eyes will be insulated from the alliinase, which can spread wherever it wants. You’ll look stupid, but it’ll be worth it.
2. Rinse the onion under cold water before chopping because the alliinase is more difficult to evaporate in the cold. Some people chop the onion directly under cold water too.
3. You can also cut the onion in half and dip it briefly in salt water or lemon water.
4. Open the windows to create an air flow. An alternative is to place it under the range hood when peeling.
5. Place a piece of bread on the tip of your knife.
6. Wedge a match between your teeth, the red tip outside your mouth, and change it every 30 seconds. I admit, this one is crazy…
7. Rub the blade of your knife with lemon juice or bread.
8. Place your onions in the refrigerator 15 minutes before peeling.
9. If you chew parsley when you peel your onions, you will disable the irritating sulfates and you will cry less.
10. Buy frozenonions already peeled!
To avoid touching onions for too long, remove the skin, cut it in half and place it in an herb grinder. You will get a chopped onion without effort and almost without a tear!
One more tip
After peeling or cutting onion, your hand might smell of onion for a while. To get rid of the smell, just rub your hands on your sink faucet as metal will capture the smell.
Picture by Ewige