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How to cut or chop onions without crying. cooking tricks

How to cut or chop onions without crying. cooking tricks

Before knowing what the best tricks are, it would be interesting to know the real reason why when cutting onions we feel like crying and thus dispel many myths about this.

Why do we cry when we cut an onion?

The person responsible for the eye irritation that causes tearing is  allilinase, it is a substance that emits a molecule called propanothial which is a type of sulfurous oil, which is captured through the nose when breathed . So when we breathe propanothiol, its irritating action causes our eyes to water or even make us feel sick.

Over the years, we have heard countless methods to avoid crying, such as putting on glasses, a clip on the nose, an onion peel on the head…… but obviously none of them work. Because to avoid the emission of allinase, or so that said emission is less, it is good that the onions that are going to be cut are very cold , so the gas is less volatile and normally either does not release or is released in a smaller quantity. .

Tricks to avoid allinase

  1. Hence, one of the most used tricks is to put the onion in the freezer for a few minutes or in the refrigerator for an hour or more. With which we will be able to reduce the energy of the sulfoxide and therefore part of its ability to gasify and reach our eyes. If we cut the onion quickly before it returns to its temperature we will notice much less stinging.
  2. Another option is to chop the onion submerged in water . If, after removing the dry layer, we pass them through tap water, we will wash away the surface sulfoxide and reduce the level of fumes. But this is not very practical.
  3. There are also those who say that passing the knife through a cloth soaked in vinegar is enough, although this leads to souring the flavor of the onion.
  4. Others turn on the extractor hood to absorb the gases and collect the fumes before they irritate us.

All of these types of methods can work, however, there are better ways to avoid tears…those that are based on avoiding or reducing the emission of allinase, as well as minimizing its effects.

What are the most effective tricks that will help you?

  • Most experts agree that using a proper knife is essential . A very sharp knife to cleanly cut the layers and not crush the cutting area or crush the onion tissues, which would release more acid and with it more tears.
  • Although some renowned chefs recommend leaving the part closest to the stem of the onion intact while cutting it and then discarding it without skimping.
  • Others advise is to remove the inner bulb of the onion , which is what causes the tearing, and discard it.
  • On the other hand, with a good knife, a systematic cut would help so that it is done as quickly as possible. The best way would be to cut with the dry skin, including the two poles of the onion so that they remain flat. Next, we cut the half and thus it is easily peeled.
  • Furthermore, if we cut on a board, since it is higher, it will force us to lean back , moving away from the gas. If we cut the onion on a table, it forces us to lean forward and therefore stand on top of the onion and thus closer to the acid. If we add to this that the board is made of resin, much better since in wooden boards the juices from the cut can get into the pores and become more difficult to wash .

Finally, air currents can carry the acid fumes to another place, but to do so they have to be very strong. If, on the other hand, they are weak, they will favor more fumes by constantly saturating the atmosphere and sending them to the face. So an isolated place, away from currents, is better.

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