Ok, I love onions! I put them in almost everything. So that means learning to cut them without crying or I’d be a big hot mess all the time and that’s no good! To get to the bottom of this, I had to find out why they make us cry and here is the very technical answer:
As onions are sliced, cells are broken, allowing enzymes called alliinases to break down amino acid sulphoxides and generate sulphenic acids. Sulphenic acids are unstable and spontaneously rearrange into a volatile gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. The gas diffuses through the air and eventually reaches the eye, where it binds to sensory neurons, creating a stinging sensation. Tear glands produce tears to dilute and flush out the irritant.
Major anti-crying tips:
#1: place your cutting board right next to your stove and turn the burner on medium high. If you can’t get your board next to your stove, try a candle next to the board. I don’t have the scientific reasoning behind this working (I’m sure you could google it to find out) but it does! Anti-crying major tip
#2: Cut the root end off first. They say most of the enzymes are kept in the root and if you get rid of that first it won’t be as bad. Just another good tip: Use a really sharp knife! Every gal should have at least one in their kitchen. Chopping is dangerous stuff if your knife is dull! One more thing before we begin, an onion has a root end and a sprout end. You should be able to identify these pretty easy. Ok, so that’s how to stop crying and here is how to cut: First, cut the root end off.
Ok, those are the basic steps to start, now comes the different cuts. To quarter, cut the onion in half again lengthwise and cut sprout end off. You’re done! See how easy this is. To slice, when you have cut the onion in half, place the cut side down on the cutting board and slice perpendicular to the onion. That’s it! To dice, (takes a couple more steps) make slices in the onion lengthwise but not cutting all the way to the sprout. You want the onion to stay intact.
Now you are going to carefully run you knife down the center of the onion as so:
And there you have it! A beautiful dice! That wasn’t so hard, right? Now to mince, take your diced onions and chop them again till they are a half or quarter of the size and now you have minced onions! I hope you all find this very helpful!
Thank you to Laura Grier for the amazing pictures!! She is incredible!