I'm sure everybody loves to cook. There's nothing like smelling the aroma that comes off the food when you sear and saute. But half the fun comes from the prep work. Peeling, slicing, chopping...it's all essential to cooking something properly. Most home cooks know they're not professionals so they don't mind that carrots, and celery, and garlic aren't consistent but there's one vegetable that everybody dreads to cut.
Nobody ever wants to cut the ONION.
Did you know that it takes twice as long to cut onions than it should because people spend half the time running to the sink to wash their eyes or wiping their eyes because they've been tearing so much from chopping onions?
Why do we cry from cutting onions? Well, I'll tell you why!
When you cut into an onion you release sulfur into the air. Have you ever bit into a raw onion and that raw, bitter taste just turns you off (if you like raw onions, more power to you)? That's because onions contain a lot of sulfur. When the sulfur is released into the air, it rises up and it mixes with the moisture in your eyes. This creates Sulfuric Acid. Now if you can remember back to high school chemistry you'll remember that high concentrated sulfuric acid can melt through metal. Of course the sulfur from onions is not that serious but it's enough to get your eyes tearing. So pretty much when you cut an onion you're creating acid in your eyes.
How do you prevent that? Well, I'll tell you how!
I've never actually Googled it but over the years of working in the kitchen I've heard and seen some pretty ridiculous methods for stopping this. I've seen people wear sunglasses, chew gum, run cold water while cutting, I've even seen people wrap plastic wrap around their face!!
NONE OF THESE WORK! (I've tested it myself)
From personal experience, I only know of 2 ways of chopping onions without crying. The first way is having a SHARP knife. When you cut into an onion with a dull knife you're squeezing the onion rather than cutting so that pushes more sulfur out of the onion. With the sharp knife you have to chop like lightning! Because even with a sharp knife you still have to chop the onion before the sulfur rises into your eyes. But of course we're all not chopping machines.
This is the MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF PREVENTING YOURSELF FROM CRYING. One word: ACID. Anything that contains acid; tomatoes, limes, oranges, kiwis, vinegar. They all work fine. The acid from these foods will actually neutralize the sulfur in the onion. What I use most though, is Lemon. It's cheap, has a lot of juice, and has the most mild flavor. You can use anything that has acid but limes don't have a lot of juice, vinegar and oranges will alter the taste of your onions. Your best bet is to keep a bottle of lemon juice in your fridge, that works just as well.
All you have to do is splash a little bit of juice on your cutting board before chopping and I promise you will not cry anymore. BUT if you are cutting a large quantity of onions you will have to reapply the acid on the cutting when you start feeling your eyes tearing again.
I hope this helps everyone!!