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trudacia's avatar

How do you prevent crying when chopping onions?

Asked by trudacia (2508points) June 15th, 2008 from iPhone
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

32 Answers

Allie's avatar

I heard chewing gum helps, but I don’t know if that’s true. I never cut onions because I hate them. Yuck… =[

Seesul's avatar

I wear safety googles, the kind that totally enclose the eyes (like large swimming googles) you can get them fairly cheaply at hardware or Home Depot type stores.

rowenaz's avatar

You are supposed to chop a chunk off the root end of the onion first, using a sharp knife to prevent more of that nasty onion juice to mist into the air, and thus into your eyes. Also, if you burn a candle, it burns up the mist that goes into the air, but be careful you don’t burn your kitchen down!

rowenaz's avatar

Or stick it in the food chopper….

gailcalled's avatar

You can buy frozen chopped onions at the Super market. A great time and tissue saver. Personally, I have found nothing prevents the oils from making me teary and red-eyed.

@Seesul; can your goggles fit over glasses or can you have your RX ground into the lens?

Mtl_zack's avatar

chop it under water. if the onion is underwater, the gas that makes you cry wont get to your eyes. with the same concentration as if it was above water.

gailcalled's avatar

Mtl_ I have read that advice everywhere, but cannot actually figure out the mechanics. Under water, the chopped bits float around. Can you describe, with diagrams, your successful method, please?

jrpowell's avatar

@gail
I worked for Intel in their wafer fab for a few months. I had custom made goggles with my prescription. They were made at ShopKo.

Curious404's avatar

Hold a slice of bread in your mouth with your teeth while chopping the onion. I don’t know why this works, but it does.

playthebanjo's avatar

To chop under water first don your self contained underwater breathing apparatus. Then grab knife, cutting board and onion. Jump into pool. Start cutting. Use pool skimming net to capture onion pieces.

spendy's avatar

I also heard that holding a wooden spoon between your teeth works. I don’t have any though. Give it a try and let me know if it works…I’ll pick one up! ;)

Mtl_zack's avatar

@gail: put water in a bowl. then put the onion under water. cut the onion in half and put one half aside, but still underwater, in another bowl perhaps. cut the half you’re working with in half, so now you have quarters. it should be easier to slice if you have less, because less float to the top. this doesnt work if you want to decorate the dish nicely with rings.

gailcalled's avatar

@Banjo; you are hilarious – I am laughing hard enough to wake wussy Milo up. Maybe I can teach him how to chop an onion.

Let me see whether I am clear. Prescription goggles- check; Scuba gear – check; swimming pool -call builder and banker in the AM; and in mouth, chewing gum, wooden spoon and bread -I’ll get back to you.

VanBantam's avatar

I’ve found that not all onions are created equal: some have a stronger flavor then others. I’ve noticed the ones with a stronger flavor make me cry more. However weaker tasting onions I’ve noticed do not make me cry as much.

So I would recomend purhcasing your onions from super market with eh produce. Weaker onions from my experiance make me cry less.

Anyone else notice this at all?

spendy's avatar

(wincing at the idea) Purposely purchase a weak onion?

Craziness. Bring on the tears.

craziprincess's avatar

Onions release a gas that reacts with the water in our eyes, causing them to burn and water. I like the goggle idea, I’ve never tried that. I usually refrigerate onions, the colder they are the slower the gas will dispurse into the air. I guess it would also help if you chop up the onions quickly, but make sure you don’t cut yourself.
I’ve sliced 30 onions at one time, I had to walk away a few times, felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my face. Well good luck with your onion chopping!!!

jlm11f's avatar

Wear contacts or chew gum. Both prevent crying while chopping onions.

Rosyblue's avatar

I fill up a bowl with ice cubes, then cover with water, set aside.
I take the onion, cut thick slices of the onion, quickly separating the slices. Submerge the onion slices in the ice water for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, I chop, slice or dice. No tears.

whatthefluther's avatar

Start with a sweet Vidalia onion…they don’t bite nearly as bad as most onions. Put the onion in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes, and when chopping, do not cut the root end until the very end, as it contains the highest concentration of tear causing chemicals.

drucilla_e's avatar

Good grief, who wants to chop onions under water? Put your chopping board under or near the stove hood vent. Turn on the fan – on high if necessary. Works every time.

AlexChoi's avatar

my google search
http://www.google.com/search?q=onions+site%3Alifehacker.com

the answer:
http://lifehacker.com/software/life-hacks/how-to-avoid-crying-when-chopping-onions-103803.php

cut a cone out of the bottom of the onion (where the roots come out). The diameter of this cone should be about a third of the diameter of the onion, and about 1/3 deep. Take this piece and throw it away

buster's avatar

Keep your mouth shut while your chopping. It isn’t near as bad if you don’t open your mouth.

gooch's avatar

Freeze the onion prior to chopping it

charybdys's avatar

My contacts work quite well. I’ve also heard that you just keep your mouth closed, no need for bread. I haven’t tried that though. I have seen it work for other people.

More importantly: how do you get the onion smell off your hands afterwards? Any ideas other than gloves?

gooch's avatar

@ Charybdys Wash your hands with tooth paste

gailcalled's avatar

@Charybdys: a nicer way is to wash with lemon juice. See the famous scene in ATLANTIC CITY

rowenaz's avatar

Oh NOW I have the best answer…buy dehydrated onions that are already chopped….

rowenaz's avatar

ooops, but the price of a bottle might make you cry….

gailcalled's avatar

@Row; get them frozen in a plastic bag. Take out what you need.

Buster; I never chop onions with my mouth open or unless something makes my jaw drop.

@Banjo; I have decided to call off the excavators.

@PnL: when I wore contacts, my eyes teared all the time; and I haven’t chewed gum in 20 years. My crowns cost too much.

playthebanjo's avatar

“Look at the size of that onion!” (jaw drops)

damn, here come the tears

jlm11f's avatar

@ gail – that’s strange. i chop onions thrice/week with just my contacts on (no gum chewing) and I haven’t had a problem.

newfietom's avatar

Contacts really do work because they keep the onion’s gasses from your eye. That gas turns into sulphuric acid when it combines with the moisture in your eye. That’s what burns and causes you to cry. Keep the gas away from your eyes and you shouldn’t cry. Goggles would probably work if they don’t have ventilation.

To get the smell of onion or garlic off your hands, use something made of stainless steel (like a spoon) under running water. The chemical reaction will negate the odor.

Bon Appetit!

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