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Old 06-07-2006, 02:41 AM   #1
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Preventing tears when chopping onions

According to a Burmese acquaintance, her trick to prevent crying when chopping onions is to lay out a generous amount of salt (she uses rock salt) on a saucer beside the chopping board. She says this greatly reduces the prickly sensation on the eyes. (She said this is Asian conventional wisdom. I've never heard of it.)

I haven't tried it as I normally have my contact lenses on. Anyone care to try this out?

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Old 06-07-2006, 08:46 AM   #2
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I just chop them as fast as I can.
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Old 06-07-2006, 10:24 AM   #3
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Seriously now... wear goggles if it is that big of a problem.... that's what Alton Brown does.

Another old wives tale is to hold a stick match or two in your mouth while chopping, or you could get a blitzhacker and do it under plastic, etc.

The tears come from the sulpheric acid formed when the moisture in your eyes reacts with the sulphur in the onions. Get low sulphur onions.
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Old 06-07-2006, 10:30 AM   #4
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Cold onion and a sharp knife does the trick for me.
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Old 06-07-2006, 10:35 AM   #5
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No disrespect intended to the Asian community, but I can't see how a saucer of salt would have a benefit with onion tears.

Fumes rising from the onion and reacting with the moisture in your eyes is how it happens. Older onions give off more fumes than fresher onions. You can't really stop the fumes from leaving the onion(you can slow them down a little). You can stop them from reaching your eyes. The goggles are a solution, as is a fan blowing across the cutting board and blowing any fumes away from your eyes.

Both of those solutions are too much of a bother for me.
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Old 06-07-2006, 10:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
Cold onion and a sharp knife does the trick for me.
That's what I do.
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:24 PM   #7
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I weep buckets with onions, my husband finds it hilarous. If I can and its for company I slice them before sorting out my make up, other wise its the hand blitzer and open windows, and if all else fails I flutter my lashes at my husband LOL
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:28 PM   #8
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There was a thread about that not so long ago.

Sharp clean knife, running water, that's all.
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:29 PM   #9
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I keep the range fan on while chopping and run water from the tap. I guess that kind of makes sense, giving the fumes another water source to react with. --who knows!
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Old 06-07-2006, 02:48 PM   #10
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The thing that does work is to peel the onion an split it into half. Take the halves and throw it into cold water. Leave them in the water for 15-20 minutes. Take it out and cut it. The gases which cause teary eyes are greatly reduced by following the soaking process.
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