Almost we all have experienced that when we start chopping onions we start to tear up. Rubbing eyes at this time the only option but no solution. But have you tried to think that why does it happen?
Onions make us teary because a reaction in the onion releases a chemical called lachrymatory factor that irritates our eyes. By peeling an onion tears doesn’t come but after chopping, cutting, crushing we start to tear up. The onion’s cells break open, allowing two normally separated substances to combine. Linked together like pieces of a puzzle, they become a potent chemical weapon. It turns into a gas. This gas hits our eyes, and it gives effects on sensory nerves in our eyes and causes and it’s the result we tear up.
When an onion is sliced or diced, the onion’s cells release these compounds into the air. When this occurs, “enzyme” works to alter the amino acids into lachrymator compounds. This form of sulfuric acid irritates the nerves around the eyes making them tear.
How can we prevent this reaction?
- Keep onion in the freezer before cutting for 10-15 minutes. This will slow down the amount of acid which released during cutting onions.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the onion to reduce the amount of damage to the onion cells.
- Keep the onions in water after taking off the peel. The theory behind this is that the gas released from onion gets absorbed by the water rather than the eyes.
- Take your tongue out while cutting onions. By doing this your eyes will not cry. This way the gas will be absorbed by our tongue.
- Wear swimming goggles or ski goggles while cutting the onion.
- Make sure that you keep your fans off while cutting onions. If it is running, the air is in constant circulation, which will lead to the spread of gas and increase the burning sensation in your eyes.
- Lighting a candle or a lamp near the chopping board is another effective way to avoid the tears. When a candle is lit near the chopping board the gas that is emitted from the onions get drawn towards the flame of the burning candle or lamp and it does not reach your eyes
- Avoid cutting the onion until the root. This will prevent the mixing of enzymes with the sulfuric acids and you can spare your eyes off the burning sensation and tears.Article By: Dr. Himani