General Question

sierragrl24's avatar

How can you prevent crying while chopping an onion?

Asked by sierragrl24 (1points) April 19th, 2009

Need the answer for a science project due in 2 day. Help plz!

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26 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

cutting onions releases acidic fumes from the onion that mix with the fluid on your eye, causing irritation and increased tear production.

richardhenry's avatar

I used to chop onions wearing swimming goggles when I was like 9 years old and learning to cook stuff. I was so cool.

crisw's avatar

Refrigerate them first.

rhetorician's avatar

Chop them under water.

hearkat's avatar

Like @crisw, I have heard that they are less noxious if cold, so I pop them in the freezer for a bit prior to chopping them.

adreamofautumn's avatar

When I worked in a pizza shop I left them soaking in cold water until I was ready to chop them and left the ones I wasn’t chopping at that moment in water. Worked great.

chyna's avatar

@richardhenry Uh yeah, I would’ve thought you were cool chopping an onion in swimming goggles…

essieness's avatar

I’ve heard chewing on a toothpick while chopping them helps. Haven’t tried it though…

richardhenry's avatar

@rhetorician I would have looked considerably cooler if I’d chosen that option.

sierragrl24's avatar

Thanks guys! I really need help with this question! Keep em coming!

richardhenry's avatar

Or I could keep the goggles on in order to submerge my face while I chop.

Jeruba's avatar

The match trick works pretty well: hold a wooden match between your teeth (business end sticking out). I used to know why it helps, but I’ve forgotten. I don’t think this is Dumbo’s feather—it really does seem to reduce the amount of irritation to the eyes. I always lean back a bit, too, and try not to be directly over the onion while chopping.

row4food's avatar

I went to visit my friend once and she opened the door wearing ski goggles and holding a big knife. Turns out she was making French onion soup when I arrived.

buster's avatar

Keep your mouth shut while cutting onions.

lataylor's avatar

cut them underwater

ru2bz46's avatar

Wear contact lenses. For many years, I could cut onions without a single tear. I got Lasik surgery and cried liked a baby the first time I cut an onion.

miasmom's avatar

@ru2bz46 Me too, I used to wear contacts and had no problem cutting onions, I didn’t know what the big fuss was about until I tried cutting them without my contacts in.

tobiasdigital's avatar

Just breath through your mouth while chopping. That helps.

cyndyh's avatar

The underwater thing helps. So does making sure you’re using a really sharp knife. If you’re knife is a bit dull it’ll just squeeze out more juices and gases. If you’re knife is really sharp you’re disrupting less of the cell walls and releasing less gases.

IBERnineD's avatar

This is weird but has worked:
I keep my mouth open while I cut the onions. I swear I heard somewhere that the gas from the onions will go to the first I guess “moist” area. Well if you open your mouth, your mouth will get the tear causing gas first. Now writing it out it seems ridiculous, but hey it works!

Shecky_Johnson's avatar

Buy a slap chop from Vince.

Alegio618's avatar

When I first became a chef I asked around and got two responses that worked for me: 1. Hold a piece of ice between your tongue and the roof of your mouth (the downside is the ice usually melts before I’m done chopping). 2. Put a small piece of onion on the top of your head (yeah, I know how weird it sounds)—I wear a bandana to cover my hair at work and just tuck a small piece inside the bandana. These two really work for me.

ru2bz46's avatar

I think @Alegio618 has been sampling the sherry again.

richardhenry's avatar

@Alegio618 You can also drape red pepper slices over your ears to alleviate the effect.

cyndyh's avatar

Then what do you do with the celery?

jerrytown's avatar

I saw on myth busters once that chilling an onion before you cut it slows down the crying process a little bit. I am a chef, the only thing that i think really works is to work fast, dont stand there all day breathing them in.

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