Monday, November 7, 2011

Chopping an Onion without Tears

Is it possible to chop an onion without tears? Many of you have asked us that question. After a couple hours (of sometimes painful) research, we're happy to report that the answer is Yes.

Chopping onions without crying is a big deal because so many recipes use onions for flavor. They're staples of many cuisines and FoodPair's recipe search engine has over 100,000 recipes with onions for your cooking pleasure. If you're going to cook you can't live without onions, but you can live without the pain and tears. Onions cause us to cry when they're cut because they release a gas that reacts with the natural tears in your eyes to form sulphuric acid. That's right, the pain is caused by sulphuric acid, the most dangerous thing they would let us play with in high school chemistry class!

So, how do you avoid onion stink-eye?

1. For starters, work in a well ventilated area and use a sharp knife. Dull knives break more onion cells and release more of those noxious fumes you're trying to avoid.

2. Next, work near an open flame. A kitchen candle or gas stove will do the trick because the flames knock out the harmful compounds from the onion.

3. Chill your onions. Putting any onions in the freezer or fridge for 15-30 minutes before chopping will also cut down on tears.

4. Other options. There are a couple other ways to avoid tears, but we found them a little odd. One is to chop the onion under running water. Sounds cool, but we lost a lot of the pieces down the drain. Another is to put vinegar on your cutting board. Again, that works fine, but you'll have to put up with everything smelling like vinegar, which isn't the best.

With all this onion info, you're going to want to do some cooking. To help, we used the FoodPair Recipe Search Engine to find some tasty dishes featuring the onion. Chop away!

French Onion Soup
We're huge fans of this classic French soup.
Ingredients: onion, fresh thyme, bay leaf, salt, butter, flour, dry white wine, beef broth, pepper, baguette, Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Caramelized Onion-and-Goat Cheese Bread
These little toasts are a great appetizer.
Ingredients: pecans, butter, sweet onion, sugar, garlic, goat cheese, salt, pepper, baguette, honey

Roast Chicken with Herb Butter, Onions & Garlic
Onions are a great complement for roast chicken.
Ingredients: butter, parsley, thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt, roasting chicken, onion, clove, chicken broth, dry white wine, flour

Spiced Lamb Burgers with Caramelized Onions
It's hard to beat candy apples with a twist.
Ingredients: clove, cumin seed, cinnamon, mint, parsley, onion, salt, cayenne pepper, ground lean lamb, olive oil, hamburger buns

Now you're ready to slice and cook all those onions. Enjoy!

Any other favorite themes, ingredients or dishes you'd like us to highlight? Post them in the comments section or on our Facebook page! And while you're at it, "Like" us on Facebook for helpful updates in your news feed.


  1. I use some awesome goggles I bought from amazon. They really do work out quite well as long as they stay on my face.

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