Help Terri Out

Seeking answers to the questions that plague me

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

How do you chop onions without crying?

Stay tuned for how the prime rib turns out, but I wanted ask another cooking related question in the mean time.
How do you chop onions without crying?
Now, if you’re congested, chop an onion. It’ll clear you out in no time and without the side effects of medication. But, most of the time when I need an onion I’m not congested and I really don’t want my makeup to run when I’m cooking dinner. So what to do? I’ve heard that if you hold two matches (do I really need to tell you: Do NOT to light them??) in your mouth while chopping onions that will help somehow. Tried it…doesn’t work. Chilling the onions does work, but it’s somewhat impractical. It’s not a good idea to store onions in the fridge, so chilling before chopping requires some forethought. So, for you people who know when you get up in the morning (or even sooner than that!) what you’ll be preparing for dinner, this is a good solution. I admire you, but I’m not you, so I must search for another answer. A cook I’ve seen on TV said when he was a prep cook and needed to chop lots of onions, he wore a scuba mask. Um…no, I’m not going to do that. Good solution, but no.
So, I’ve looked around a little bit. First, I found a great tutorial on how to chop an onion. Check it out here.  However, it doesn’t mention the fumes so I researched a little farther. According to WikiHow, onions make you cry because when cut they release an enzyme which reacts with water to make an acid. WikiHow also has some suggestions on how to avoid the tears. Check it out here, I’ll summarize.
1.) Use a very sharp knife (be careful!) this results in less of the enzyme being released. Really, in my experience, not much less.
2.) Cut the onion underwater. Seriously, who’s going to do this?
3.) Cut near a strong draft, like a fan or your stove vent. I don’t recall having less of a problem when my ceiling fan is on.
4.) Wear contacts. I used to wear contacts, still cried.
5.) Have a lit candle near when chopping. This is the one that works best for me, except the candle isn’t enough, in my opinion. I have a gas stove, and put my cutting board next to it with a burner on. This works well for me, but seriously, be careful and sensible about how you do it.

So…if you have any other suggestions, let me know and happy tear free onion chopping!

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