If you are a regular user of onions in cooking, you know that as soon as you slice them open, the tears will inevitably flow. It doesn’t matter how happy you are feeling, you can be sure to cry if you chop up an onion, as it seems to happen to everyone.

The reason onions make you cry is because they contain amino acid sulfoxides. These are molecules that are released when you cut the onions open, and in doing so they form a type of acid. This then reacts with the air and the gas that results from it is what causes your eyes to sting and then, to get watery.

So, now that we know what causes it, how can we stop it?

  • Light a candle – The idea here is that the flame will get rid of some of the fumes from the onion. Without the fumes, there will be no gas and no stinging eyes.
  • Freeze the onion first – Before you start chopping the onion, try sticking it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. The cold is supposed to stop the release of the molecules. This seemingly works in the fridge also but you will need to leave it for longer.
  • Slice it in water – Same idea as before, under water the vapour will not be able to reach your eyes.
  • Soak it – slicing an onion under water might be a bit difficult, so a solution to this is to soak it after it’s been peeled.
  • Use a spoon – Holding a spoon with your mouth while chopping can help. This is because, supposedly, the chemicals will stick to the metal before they can get to your eyes.
  • Try chewing – chewing gum seems to work nicely. Because it makes you breathe through your mouth this will help disperse the gas coming from the onion.
  • Wear safety goggles! – while chopping or slicing onions, wearing safety goggles can help to keep your eyes from stinging.

M&P Engineering is a leading designer and manufacturer of food processing equipment, including its world-renowned onion peeling machine. M&P Engineering’s onion peeling machine uses a system of self-adjusting floating knife assemblies to top, tail and peel onions in a dry peeling process. The dry onion peeling process is able to process up to 750kg of onions per hour. M&P also provides filling and depositing machinery to the food production industry, delivering a reliable, fast process.

In addition to its range of onion peeling machines, M&P Engineering also offers further food processing equipment including its food depositors and rotary transfer units. For more information, call us on +44 (0)161 872 8378 or contact us here.

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