Additional Onion Information:
All About Onions | Onion Preparation | Onion Cooking
Irritation to the eyes, which causes tearing, can be a problem when cutting onions. Tearing is caused by the sulfuric compounds contained in the onion, which are released when the onion is cut. Different varieties are more of a problem than others. The higher the level of sulfur content in an onion the more of a problem tearing will be. Dry storage onions have the highest level of sulfur, which makes them cause more of a tearing problem when slicing and chopping. Shown below are some suggestions for solutions to tearing problems.
- Chill the onion for at least 30 minutes before cutting. The sulfuric compounds contained in the onion do not react with the air as quickly when they are cold.
- Trim off stem end and peel down to the root end. Leave root end on as long as possible because that is where the sulfur is most heavily concentrated. If possible cut, slice or chop the onion as much as possible before removing the root end.
Additional tear saving tips: (Experiment with these tips and see what works best for you!)
- Slice under cold running water.
- Peel the onion, cut in half and let soak in water for approximately 10 minutes before cutting.
- Light one or two candles in the area you are cutting the onion.
- Be sure to use a sharp knife to expose less of the sulfur compounds to the air.
- Have a fan blowing the fumes away from you.
- Place cutting board on the stove top and slice or chop onions with the exhaust fan running.
- Use white distilled vinegar to brush down the cutting board before slicing and chopping onions
- Try holding your breath while you are cutting the onion.
- Keep your mouth closed while you are slicing or chopping onions.
- Use a food processor for chopping.
- Wear safety or swim goggles. Glasses and contact lenses may also help.
- Avoid using a food processor when chopping green onions. The onions can become too mushy very quickly.
- Create a garnish by slicing the tops of green onions in half lengthwise (do not slice the bulb). Place the onion in a bowl of ice water. After a few hours the onion green will begin to curl. Remove from cold water and use as a garnish for a salad or entrée.
- Slice green onions thinly and blend with cream cheese for a quick bagel spread.
- The greens of the scallion can be used as a chive substitute. The scallion greens are a bit stronger than chives so use a smaller quantity.
- Add onion flavor to a dish without including onion pieces by squeezing a half onion on a lemon juicer. Add the created juice to your dish.
- If using only half an onion, use the top half and store the root end. The root end will stay fresh for a longer period of time.
- To produce good tasting, crisp onions, first slice or chop onions and place them in a bowl. Cover the onions with water and then add some ice to the water. Let the onions soak for 15 minutes to an hour and then drain before serving.
- For crispier fried onions, soak the sliced or chopped onions in milk before frying.
- To remove the onion odor from your hands, rub a piece of lemon in salt and then squeeze the juice on your hands, rub the juice in, and then rinse it off.
- To reduce the onion smell in the kitchen, combine 3 to 4 cups of water, a cup of vinegar, and a teaspoon of cloves in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Breath freshening tips:
- Eat one or two sprigs of parsley, which is a natural breath freshener.
- Rinse your mouth with a mixture of one part lemon juice and one part water.
- Chew on the peel of an orange or lemon.
- Try eating an apple.
- Chew on coffee beans, a vanilla bean, or fennel seed.