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No Tear Onion Cutting

November 29th, 2011 Cooking

It's a well-accepted fact that cutting onions makes you cry. For many of us, this is simply a part of the cooking process, and while it may be irritating, we learn to cope and recover from the stinging sensation fairly quickly.

According to HowStuffWorks, the reason onions do this is because they naturally absorb the sulfur found in the soil in which they grow, forming a gas called amino acid sulfoxide. When you slice into the pearly white skin, you release that gas, which travels up into your eyes, causing irritation and a natural reflex to flush it out by releasing tears.

So what can you do to combat those tears? There are actually a few techniques - some more scientifically-based than others. The first technique is to simply get them chopped up as quickly as possible. If you move the onions away before they have time to react with your skin, then you'll be okay.

However, we aren't all culinary speed demons. Epicurious offers a few other methods of coping with onions - you can point a fan away from you so that the irritating gases are kept from your body. Another technique is to dunk the onions in cold water for 20 minutes before working with them. It's also been suggested that chopping near a flame can help neutralize the gas.

Perhaps the oddest bit of advice is to do the cutting with a piece of white bread in your mouth. It may seem bizarre, but a few different sources say that this helps. The scientific reasoning behind this is a little fuzzy, but if you're desperate, it may be worth a shot!