If you like to cook, you’ve had this happen at least once (probably more than that): you’re cutting an onion and you can’t. stop. crying. Once second you’re totally fine chopping away, the next you’ve got big fat tears streaming down both cheeks. You look like you just watched “The Notebook,” but feel totally fine. It’s the strangest thing!
Well, it turns out this reaction is caused by the enzymes that are released when you cut the onion, which then react with the water in your eyes to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns and when it does your eyes produce tears to wash the irritant away. Yikes!
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to avoid this reaction. Here’s what they are:
1. Chill the onion. Cold onions, either kept in the fridge or put in the freezer 10 minutes before being cut, produce fewer enzymes.
2. Use a sharp knife. The enzyme is released when onion cells are crushed or broken. A clean cut from a sharp knife is less likely to produce these enzymes (aka cause the tears).
3. Whistle while you cut. Whistling blows air away from your face and the onion enzymes away from your eyes.
4. Stand by a fan or near a window. Again, the airflow should be pointed away from your face.
5. Stick your tongue out. This draws the enzymes to the liquid in your mouth, not your eyes.
So, there you go–five quick tips for NOT tearing up when you cut an onion. Will you try any??