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Old 06-10-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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No more onion tears, or just a fluke?

i needed to dice a large onion for a recipe this morning, and steeled myself for the weeping to come. my previous use of methods meant to alleviate onion tears hadn't worked for me, thus my resignation today. my onion, just two weeks from the market, had a black moldy looking section on one side, (another issue of mine) so i proceeded to peel back the layers to see what was still usable of the onion. it was mostly still good, and i washed it a bit more than usual, as the black stuff was smeary even though the onion itself was fine inside. accidentally, i had the hot water running as i was doing this, and scolded myself for now having to start working with a somewhat warmish onion - (one of my remembered onion tips was to chill it before using) long story short, i sliced and diced this onion with absolutely no discomfort! i might as well have been chopping an apple - i even made the dice extra small, and lingered over my task because it was such a pure pleasure to work and bond with an onion at long last! now, what to do with my prematurely spoiling onions? i'd rather not store them in the fridge unless i absolutely must....

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:12 PM   #2
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Just a fluke. Onions do vary in potency. Maybe you just got lucky.

Chilling mnimizes but does not eliminate. Forget about lighting candles or standing on one leg and hopping up and down.

The sure fire way to keep your eyes from tearing is to keep the fumes out of your eyes. Simple and easy. Buy some swim goggles and wear them while chopping or have a small fan going while you chop. Place the fan on the counter and have it blow air across in front of you. Left to right or vice versa over the top of the onion.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:19 PM   #3
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Oh--swimwear goggles! My DH already thinks I have more than enough gadgets/tools for the kitchen....I gotta add the goggles!
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:46 PM   #4
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Another way to minimize, but no eliminate the fumes is to make sure your knife is very sharp. But to answer your question, yes it was a fluke like Andy said.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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I cut onions all of the time (about 3-4 times a week - I love Vidalias!!!), and maybe... maybe one in twenty will cause a little discomfort. As GB says, using a very sharp knife is one reason. Another is I don't stand "over" the cutting board, but stand straight up with the onion in front of me rather than me leaning over it. The fumes are further away and don't rise up into my face.

Oh, and the onions come straight from the counter top basket... never the fridge.
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Old 06-11-2011, 12:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Place the fan on the counter and have it blow air across in front of you. Left to right or vice versa over the top of the onion.
oh, now you tell me...

my shirt really smells like onion, but i did stay cool while crying as i diced it.



but seriously, i wonder if the lack of potency had anything to do with that it might have been an old onion (considering the black goo on it) even though it was only 2 weeks from the market.
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
oh, now you tell me...

my shirt really smells like onion, but i did stay cool while crying as i diced it.



but seriously, i wonder if the lack of potency had anything to do with that it might have been an old onion (considering the black goo on it) even though it was only 2 weeks from the market.

Older onions tend to be stronger in the tear -making department because moisture has evaporated concentrating the potency of the fumes.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:52 PM   #8
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i'm back with an update about my fluke tearless onion chopping experience. actually, it was a bit daunting to face another onion - would i duplicate my previous easy chopping result, or would it be back to rivers of tears as usual? i decided to take a somewhat scientific approach: i cut my onion in half. the first half onion i ran under hot water while peeling a few of the outer layers off. the other onion half did not get the hot water treatment. i chopped the first half with no smarting or tears whatever. the second half was more pungent in aroma, and caused minor eye-smarting. the onion, both parts, had the sharp bite and potent flavor i expect from (raw) onions. what do i conclude from this second go-round? enjoy this bag of onions while they last, but continue with the hot water baths...just in case.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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You need to do at least one more test. Run one half under hot water and the other half under cold water. It might just be the water and not the temperature.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:56 PM   #10
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The hot water would wash off some of the onion's natural juices. That would delay stinging fumes for a bit. If you use a sharp knife and work quickly, that could be enough.

Congrats on your scientific experiment and discovery.
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