Why do Onions make us cry

If you dread the idea of chopping onions for dinner, you’re not alone, working in the kitchen and cooking home cooked food can be a hazard for many, it’s important to know how to properly use sharp knives, how to cut veggies and how to store and add spices. We consider cooking an art and the more creative you are the better, but no matter what tricks or hacks you try onions always make you cry a little bit.

Those tears are definitely not tears of joy when you’re chopping onions, onions basically release a chemical in the air known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide when you chop an onion or slice it, this is a chemical irritant and a potential irritant for the eyes. It stimulates the tear glands and that makes us cry. We do know onions are a staple in many dishes and avoiding cutting them is not possible.

Though onions naturally have these irritant, you can work around it and if you want to avoid the stinging and teary eyes there are hacks you can try, though not everyone has an intense reaction to chopping onions, some people however react too much to it. Some people have very sensitive tear glands in their eyes so they would cry a lot more, but chefs and food experts have found ways to work around it and it’s basically just an irritant, doesn’t harm your eyes in the long run.

Tricks to do to stop weeping around onions

  • If you need to cut an onion chill it for 10-15 minutes that way the onions won’t be as irritating as they’re on room temperature.
  • Get a good cutting knife and cut them fast, place chopping board near an open flame to prevent irritation to the eyes.
  • Turn on the kitchen exhaust or vent.
  • Slice an onion in two parts and soak in water–this will also take away the sulfur compounds from the onion that have health benefits.
  • Wear goggles.
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