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how to avoid "onion tears"

(1 rating)
Recipe by
Ellen Gwaltney Bales
Indianapolis, IN

Nobody enjoys crying and if you're trying to get dinner ready, unwanted tears can be quite distractng. I'm talking about those burning, itchy, running eyes caused by cutting onions. We've all been there. This "recipe" will attempt to at least partially solve that problem. Photo source:

(1 rating)
yield serving(s)

Ingredients For how to avoid "onion tears"

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How To Make how to avoid "onion tears"

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    Firstly, what causes the "onion tears?" When an onion is cut, the cells are broken and certain enzymes are released into the air. To make matters worse, the gases released from the onion mix with the water from your tears, forming sulfuric acid, which causes more tears and that burning sensation.
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    Use a sharp knife to cut onions because the knife will slice the cells rather than breaking them; fewer enzymes will be released. Using chilled onions also may help
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    Cut the onions near an exhaust fan or a lit candle. The draft or the flame will draw the vapors to it and away from you. Also you can wear glasses to block the vapors. Some people even wear swim goggles or a diving mask!
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    Chewing on a piece of bread is said to help stop the tears but the reason is unclear. Some say it works.
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    Try leaving the root intact, since the highest concentration of enzymes is located in the root. Cut or chop the onion down just to the root and discard that part.
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    It has also been suggested that putting vinegar on your cutting board before slicing the onions is effective in neutralizing the enzymes. Soak the onion in salt water before chopping. Or simply wash the onion while you are slicing so that the water removes the excess enzymes. A piece of lime rubbed on the knife can neutralize the enzymes as well.
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    Try breathing through your mouth while you cut up the onion. The theory is that the vapors get stuck in the tongue so that the tear ducts are bypassed. Or you can cut the onion near a cloud of steam or running water.
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    All of these methods and, I'm sure, dozens more have been tried and tested throughout history. Do any of them really work? Well, you be the judge, and if you find one that does the trick, please let us know about it!

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