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How to Chop Onions Without Tears

Discussion in 'Ophthalmology' started by waleed, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. waleed

    waleed Moderator

    Aug 12, 2011
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    N.B :Why do onions make you cry, and how can you prevent it from happening? Onions are made up of a tunic of outer leaves (the brown layer), scales (the white firm juicy edible part), and the basal plate (often called the "hairy part" or the "root"). Onions make you cry because:

    1. When you cut the basal plate or shoot, they release an enzyme.
    2. That enzyme reacts in the rest of the onion to release a gas.
    3. When that gas combines with water, it creates an acid.
    4. If that water is in your eye, you have acid in your eye. That makes you cry.

    _Use a very sharp knife when cutting onions. The enzymes are released when cells are broken or crushed; using a sharp knife slices through the onion rather than crushing and thus, fewer enzymes are released.

    _Chill your onions in the freezer for 10 - 15 mins before cutting them. This reduces the amount of the acid enzyme released into the air. This was found to be the most effective way to reduce tears by the television program Food Detectives.[

    Don't get the gas in your eyes :
    Wear gas-tight goggles or a mask.

    Cut the onion Next to a strong draft from a fume hood or fan so that the gas is pulled away from your eyes; or
    Wear contact lenses (easy enough if you wear them anyway) - they create a barrier between the surface of your eyes and the gas._
    Absorb the gas in water

    Cut the onion under water.
    Cut the onion near running water or a cloud of steam. (from a kettle or pan of water)
    Breathe through your mouth (to draw the gas over your wet tongue) or stick your tongue out.

    Breathe Through Your Mouth:Breathe through your mouth only. The Olfactory nerves which are closely located to the tear duct nerves will be by bypassed, and there will be no tears generated. This is easily confirmed when you forget and breathe through your nose. Instant tears.

    Slow or stop the reaction that makes the gas:

    Put vinegar on the chopping board (the acid denatures the enzyme);
    Soak the onion in water (the enzyme is denatured by the water-air boundary); or
    Soak the onion in salt water (the ionic solution denatures the enzyme).

    The Candle Method:

    Light a candle and set it near the cutting board before cutting the onion. The gas released by the onion is drawn into the flame of a candle.

    Onions are Tubular:
    Because onion "flesh" is tubular in construction - like thousands of tiny tubes side by side, pointing toward the top and bottom of the onion - pointing the tubes away from you while cutting will keep the onion from spraying in your eyes. Of course, a breeze of any kind can send the fine, misty spray toward your eyes, so pay attention to air currents too.

    _Chew bread or gum. Many people report that chewing, especially gum, helps avoid tears when cutting onions.
    onion 1.jpg
    Source 1:Medical Inspiration-For doctors and Medical students: How to Chop Onions Without Tears
    Source 2:wikihow

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  2. Rocket Queen

    Rocket Queen Super Moderator

    Mar 29, 2011
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    My advice: cut the onion near the opened window.

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