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How to cut onions without shedding tears

Healthy Eating
 Onions contain some reactive acids that irritate the eyes (Shutterstock)

Usually, the worst part about onions is the cutting process. The eating process on the other hand, we always look forward to.

However, the thought of having to endure the tears when preparing a meal can put one off. Onions naturally sting because they contain some reactive acids that irritate your eyes when exposed.

Like myself, I’m sure you’ve shed so many tears when cutting these tasty veggies but luckily, I have some helpful tips that actually work. Depending on how good you do this, tears will be a thing of the past.

i.Use water

There are so many ways you can use water to avoid the stinging. The first one is to peel and soak the onions in a bowl of water for roughly 15 minutes. This will dilute most of the acids so you’ll have an easier time.

The second method is to cut the onion under running water. The enzymes will react with the water instead of your eyes which is exactly what we’re going for. This method saves you time because you won’t have any waiting time.

Third, cut the onion in a bowl of water. You might not be comfortable letting water run throughout so this is also a good method that works.

The only downside of using water is, it interferes with the flavor to a certain extent.

ii.Ventilate the room

Ensure the room is well ventilated and keep your distance while cutting the onions. This will simply reduce the amount of gas getting into contact with your eyes.

You can go a step further and cut the onion under a vent or even next to a fan. This will keep the fresh air flowing and reduce the tears.

iii.Get a pair of goggles

This one is a little bizarre but it definitely works. Goggles come in handy because thy seal off the gas to protect your eyes from the sting. Sunglasses would also be an alternative but most of them aren’t that effective if they don’t cover your eyes that well.

So don’t mind the awkward stares from family. Grab your swimming or snorkeling goggles and get to chopping.

 Grab your swimming or snorkeling goggles and get to chopping (Shutterstock)

iv.Freeze the onion

This method has proved to be so effective. That cool environment will inactivate the reactive acids in the onion so you’ll barely feel a thing. You don’t have to peel the onion with this one. Just place it in the freezer for around 10 to 15 minutes and proceed.

v.Rub some lemon juice on the knife

Lemon juice will easily combine with the acids in the onion to reduce the irritation a whole lot. Cut a lemon in half then apply the juice on both sides of the knife before using it to cut your onions.

With this method, you might have to keep re-applying the juice every now and then. But it has significant results.

vi.Keep the root intact

Don’t chop off the hairy root of the onion first. This will actually make things worse because once the root starts to bleed, your eyes will tear up rapidly.

What you can do is leave the root intact even as you peel. Slice starting with the top side opposite of the root then work your way towards it. Then you can finally discard the root when you’re done.

vii.Work fast

You definitely have to work fast when cutting onions. Sometimes there is no time to dip them underwater or apply lemons so the only thing you can do is work fast.

It’s even better when you use a sharp knife because it will reduce the surface area and prevent a lot of gas from getting into your eyes. But be careful not to cut yourself in the process.

You might not be able to completely block out the sting and tears but there’s no overlooking the effectiveness of some of these methods. The key here is to find that which works best for you.

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