If you have chopped onions, you already know that doing it without crying is not an easy task. As soon as you start to cut the layers of the onion, a certain irritating smell alerts you and immediately, your eyes fill with tears. Today we are going to learn how to cut or chop onions without crying and we will analyze the most used tricks, discovering which ones work and which ones don’t.
The responsible for eye irritation that causes tearing is the allinase, a substance that is released when the onion is cut and that produces the emission of an irritant molecule called syn-propanotial-S-oxide or propanotial.
This molecule which is a sulfur essential oilIt is very volatile and is captured by the nose when you breathe it. Therefore, and thus we begin to charge absurd methods, putting on a diving mask that does not cover the nose is not a useful way to chop onions.
It is also useless to place an onion peel on your head – who would come up with this technique? – or other silly tricks that normally only work for the one trying to spread them. The task of cutting onions without crying is full of infallible methods without any foundation. Before seeing which are the best, it is convenient to know what is the reason why when cutting onion makes us want to cry.
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Why does cutting onions cause tearing?
As I told you before, the reason for the tearing is the irritation of the nasal mucosa when inhaling the molecule that comes off when cutting the layers of the onion. Normally this emission tends to have a small range radius, approximately 50-90 cm.
When we breathe the propanotial, its irritant action causes our eyes to water or even feel bad and we have to leave the kitchen. The methods that we are going to see are based on avoid or reduce the emission of the volatile substance and at the same time, in minimizing its effects.
To avoid the emission of anylase, or for this emission to be lower, it is good that the onions that are going to be cut are very cold. A) Yes gas is less volatile and usually either does not shed or it does shed much less.
Therefore, one of the tricks that are used in many homes, consists of put the onion in the freezer for a few minutes or in the fridge for an hour or more before cutting.
Another way for the broadcast not to affect us would be chop the onion submerged in a bowl of water so that no irritating gases would come out. Obviously that method will work but it is not practical, especially if we have to make a fine cut brunoise type.
The most used tricks
In order to absorb gases that emanate there are those who light a candle next to the area in which the cut is going to be made and there are those who light the fume cupboard to collect the fumes before they irritate us. These types of methods – more widely used than it seems – can work, but as we will see, there are better ways to prevent tears.
The first thing we have to understand is that it is very important to have a good knife, since if we make a fine and precise cut we will tear fewer layers of onion than if we use a slightly sharp one than when cutting, crush, tear or flatten the layer that is cut.
In order to “neutralize the propanotial“there are many people who smear the edge of the knife with a little vinegar. I do not like this technique because we introduce a little flavor into the onion that we are going to cut, although many people say that the technique of moistening the knife with a cotton ball with vinegar is very effective.
Another way to avoid tears is dip both the peeled onions and the knife in water repeatedly as it is cut. Wetting the onions removes some of the propanotial and weeps considerably less. But it is a bad method if you have to peel a good amount of onions and you already have the cut as an automated move.
The most important trick
The most important trick to learning how to cut or chop onions without crying is to have a good board, a good, well-sharpened knife, and to cut with good technique. It is also essential to be somewhat separated from the knife to avoid being in the range of the emissions that the onion will make. It is important that there are no air currents or the volatiles will reach us the same no matter how much we move away.
I usually push the cutting board forward And so my arms and the knife are not perpendicular to my face, but rather forward, so that the emissions that usually go upwards do not affect me directly. First, I cut the onion in half and then I hair it, then passing it through cold water.
Then I put the cut flat part on the board and I cut the onion quickly and decisively and always with the well-sharpened knife to prevent slipping and cuts.
It is always advisable to use a chef’s knife of good dimension, since large knives penetrate the different layers of the onion without crushing its pulp and consequently, its juices are not directed with as much impulse towards our mucous membranes.
Finally, it is important to know the different ways to cut or the different techniques for cutting onions, depending on the dish for which we are going to need this ingredient. If we know how to cut quickly, emissions will be shorter and will affect us much less. There, the only way to improve is to practice until you have mastered the julienne cut, brunoise, emincé, etc.
I hope these tricks to learn how to cut or chop onions without crying They have been good for you and so, the next time you have to do a good amount, remember them or know where to consult them. What in the kitchen, you just have to cry when you excite our guests.
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