Onions can add depth and sweetness to savory dishes, but the same compounds that make them so flavorful can also bring you to tears! Onion chopping and eye watering can be managed with a bit of insight and a few tips. Did you know that onions are rich in sulfur? When you chop an onion, you’re releasing sulfurous compounds and enzymes into the air. Mixed together, they form an eye-irritating gas. Your eyes react to this gas by producing tears. Tears can help wash away these irritants, but they also blur your vision-and that’s dangerous when you’re handling a large, sharp knife. Fortunately, here are some practical tips to clear the air.
Keep Your Kitchen Breezy
Open the windows and turn on the fan above your stove or use the overhead kitchen hood while you work. This will sweep away the eye-irritating mist that rises from chopped onions.
Chill Onions Before Chopping
Onions’ irritating compounds waft most easily through warm air. Chill the onions to be chopped in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before chopping to keep these compounds from rising up toward your eyes.
Use Onion Goggles
Have you even heard of onion goggles? Yes, onion goggles actually exist and for many people can be helpful. You can find them in specialty cooking shops and home stores.
Onion Type Selection
Spring onions are fresh, not dried, and they’re less likely to bring you to tears. The same goes for sweet onion varieties such as Vidalia. Try using spring onions during the spring and summer months, and switch to sweet onions in the fall and winter.
Matossian Eye Associates is a multispecialty eye care center staffed by a team of ophthalmologist & optometrist eye doctors and retina specialists, cataract specialists, glaucoma specialists & eye plastic surgery specialists with office locations in Two Capital Way, Suite 326, Pennington, NJ 08534-609-882-8833, 1445 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road, Suite 106, Hamilton, NJ 08619-609-890-0772, 501 Hyde Park, Route 202, Doylestown, PA 18902-215-230-9200, an affiliate of Prism Vision Group.