Onion is a round vegetable with strong odor and taste. It belongs to the genus Allium. It is cultivated and popularly used as spice in food preparation. It contains a lot of healthy substances like phenolics and flavonoids that commonly known as anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. Good news for you, who can’t afford to buy pills for your high blood pressure. Maybe it is proper to say that an onion a day keeps your doctor away.
You may wonder how this thing can make you cry. Onions emit compounds that irritate the lachrymal glands resulting to release of tears as it tries to flush out the chemical. During chopping, a chemical reaction take place and a volatile gas known as the onion lachrymatory factor is being released. This gas diffuses to the air and your eyes catch it. Activated by the gas, your sensory neurons detect the unpleasant sensation. Your tear glands then come to rescue by releasing tears to dilute and flush out the invader.
How to save galloons of tears form your eyes? There are lots of ways to save you from the hell of cutting onions. First, simple techniques like soaking the onion in a basin of water, you can put salt or vinegar in it. The purpose is to denature its enzymes. You may want to freeze it for 20 minutes before cutting. Using a sharp knife is also of help to you. This avoids too much damage to the cells that releases gaseous irritant. You have to cut from top sparing the bottom that contains highest concentration of enzymes. Therefore, lessen your exposure to the strong enzyme release.
Other technique includes opening your mouth and breathing through it. This will save you from feeling the irritant in your eyes. Avoiding the air current by facing in a fan or open window can help. If you don’t have one, you may want to do the trick by whistling while cutting. You may appear happy while cooking but the truth is it saves you from crying. Putting a candle light near you is also helpful. The gas is being drawn by the flame of the candle. You may look funny with this next technique but it can help rather than going swimming in tears: wear a goggle.
Since you cannot avoid cutting onions, you have to learn the techniques. You have to know how to bend or else you will break in cutting it. However, there is not much to worry. As promised by advancing technology, you will not cry anymore because genetic engineers are in their way of producing a tear-free onion while maintaining its taste, smell and health benefits.