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How to Chop an Onion and Not Cry

How to Chop an Onion and Not Cry



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We’ve all heard that this trick or that works for stopping onion-induced tears, but what if you don’t happen to have a sharp enough knife on hand – is there another method that you can use? Why of course, and we’ve created a roundup of the all ways that we could find to stop onions from making you cry.

Why do we cry you ask? Well, according to food scientist Harold McGee, onions, and others in the onion family, make our eyes water as part of a defense mechanism through the use of sulfur. The growing plants take up sulfur from the soil and turn it into a weapon when cells are damaged through chopping. Onions, shallots, and leeks in particular are the ones that make us cry; this sulfur product is called the “lacrimator.” While the onions are cut, the chemical escapes from the injured cells and enters the attacker’s eyes and nose where it apparently strikes nerve endings resulting in tears aplenty. How do you prevent this from happening? Check out what we found below.

Tricks for Not Crying:

1. McGee recommends chilling the onions with the skins on in ice water for 30-60 minutes to slow down the release of the enzyme, giving the cutter more time to get the work done.

2. Put the onion halves in the freezer for 20 minutes before chopping. (Again, this probably works in a similar fashion to the chilling-in-water method, but requires less prep time.)

3. Using a very sharp knife while cutting seems to be a feasible option as that would reduce the amount of damage done to the cells, therefore lowering the amount of chemicals released.

4. Chop the onions under a powerful hood or next to a very strong fan that will blow the gas away from you. (Although if you don’t have a hood, then this could get messy with a fan if onion pieces started flying. )

More, Less-Explainable, Methods:

I’m not quite sure why these other methods are believed to work, but there seem to be plenty of people who stand by them – try them out and let us know what happens!

5. Place a piece of bread between your teeth while chopping. Maybe it distracts or absorbs the chemicals?

6. Chew on gum or another bite of food (might be just an excuse to eat while you prep, but we’ll take it).

7. Put a metal spoon or other utensil in your mouth while peeling and chopping – sounds weird but it works.

Some Questionable Methods:

8. Cutting an onion under running water – wouldn’t your hand slip? Especially if you are using a sharp knife?

Our thoughts: Don’t try it.

9. Burning a candle next to you while you chop so that the flame pulls the gases toward it and away from you.

Our thoughts: Possibility of danger/fire is high, especially if it doesn’t work and you start crying and swatting at things.

10. Wear goggles or a ski mask while chopping.

Our thoughts: Eh, those are always a pain to adjust and you might get stuck with old goggle face. And you could end up looking like this guy:


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


How to Cut Onions Without Crying Ever Again, According to a Chef

Many delicious recipes call for a serving of onion. Whether it be tossed into a stir fry or baked into a casserole, the root vegetable gives just about any dish that extra special boost in flavor. Unfortunately, there is a rather major pitfall to onions, and that lies within having to be the person to slice them up. Cue the tears—literally.

Why do onions make you cry, anyway? According to the New York Times, the mere act of cutting into the bulbed vegetable releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor (LF), which is essentially a gas. It immediately triggers the sensory nerves in your eyes, causing them to burn and well up with tears. Who knew such a tasty vegetable could pack such a potent substance?

Fortunately, there is a way to avoid coming face-to-face with the tear-inducing chemical. After all, chefs have to cut them on the fly all the time, and they definitely don't have time to stop and cry. We spoke with Chef Vincent Olivieri, Chef De Cuisine at Fairway Market and Fairway Café & Steakhouse, to get the lowdown on how he dodges the burn.

Is there a type of onion that causes you to cry more so than others?

"An onion is an onion is an onion is an onion, whether it be red, white, purple, yellow, or green. Whether the shape is a bulb, a globe, a sphere, or a stalk, it's all the same," says the chef. "I find that older onions are sometimes more potent and can cause a tear."

OK, so how do I cut an onion without crying?

"I myself am an experienced onion slicer and have become immune to the irritating burn that cutting an onion causes to your eyes," says Olivieri. "I have found a couple of things that have worked for my employees in the past."

Olivieri suggests using a sharp knife to cut the onion.

"Slicing an onion with a sharp knife does not break down the cell walls inside the onion's membranes. A dull knife causes a rougher cut, which in turn releases more of the noxious gases that cause our eyes to burn," he says.

It makes sense: using a dull knife prompts you to dig more aggressively into the tough vegetable, which means you end up releasing more of the LF in the onion than if you made a clean slice through it with a sharper knife.

A sharp, multi-purpose chef knife will do the trick.

Olivieri recommends putting a wet paper towel around your neck while hacking away at an onion.

"Some of my newer employees still cry when they cut their first onion, despite how sharp we keep our knives," he says. "I have found that a dampened paper towel draped around the front of your neck catches those gases before they have time to make it into your sinuses. It works."

So there you have it: a sharp knife and keeping a wet paper towel on your neck are all you need to never shed another tear while chopping up onions again. These quick fixes will come in handy the next time you want to make a French onion soup or caramelize some onions on the stovetop! We're so happy we could just cry.


Watch the video: Cut onion without crying (August 2022).