Don’t be embarrassed if you shed a few tears while cutting onions - there’s actually a scientific reason for it. Once an onion is cut, it releases a chemical called syn-Propanethial S-oxide that irritates your eyes. To flush the irritant out, tears are released. If you’d rather avoid the waterworks while cutting these alliums, here are some tips:
🧅 While you don’t want to store uncut onions in the fridge, you can chill the onion for 30-45 minutes before cutting it. This will decrease the amount of irritant that gets released.
🧅 Turn over any cut sides so they’re face-down to limit the release of the chemical.
🧅 Place any cut pieces you’re done with in a bowl on the other side of the room. The distance will weaken the severity of the chemical.
🧅 A sharp knife will reduce the amount of damage to the cells of the onion by requiring less pressure, thereby releasing less of the tear-inducing chemical.
🧅 Remove the root end first and quickly dispose of it. It contains the highest concentration of the irritant.