Kitchen Tip: Avoiding Teary Eyed Onion

onionsI don’t have a recipe to share today, but I do have a little kitchen tip to share!

How can you avoid the teary eyed syndrome every time you chop up one of those lovely onions? Try this: refrigerate your onions at least 30 minutes before use! I keep several in the refrigerator at a time so I don’t have to think about it. When refrigerated, the sulfur compounds (which cause the tears) will react more slowly and reduce your tears. Use a sharp knife too; a dull one will break more cell walls causing more tears. Lastly, try cutting off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact. (The root end has the largest concentration of supluric compounds). Refrigeration will also preserve their freshness. No more issues with tearing up in my kitchen.

Why eat onions in the first place? According to an article titled Fewer Tears in the Kitchen in Naturally Preferred, “Quercetin, a flavonoid in onions, has many well-documented health benefits, including antiviral properties. In one study, quercetin was found to boost immunity and protect against flue in people who exercise strenuously…Quercetin has been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels too. Onions also contain fructans, a source of soluble fiber shown to reduce certain kinds types of cancer, and other flavonoids with antioxident properties. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, offer dietary fiber, and contain no cholestrol or fat. Enjoy them raw, marinated, carmalized, stuffed, grilled, or baked.”

So now you have no more excuses to avoid the onion!

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy’s Recipes.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

16 Responses to Kitchen Tip: Avoiding Teary Eyed Onion

  1. Danielle Hunt March 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    You can also peel your onion after cutting in half (i cut mine into fourths) under cold running water. The stuff that burns your eyes are washed away. I learned that from Whole Foods several years back.

  2. Kelly March 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    This is a good idea. I usually just muster on through when chopping onions, but when my husband has to chop onions for his ‘secret’ chili recipe, he actually wears some swimming goggles. I have also heard that chewing gum can help? Like I said, I just try to chop fast and get through the chore!


  3. Kate March 3, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    I’ve tried all the tricks for not crying while chopping onions, nothing works. I’ve learned to just chop fast!

  4. Natasha March 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    Yay! No more bawling when cutting onions…what a relief!

  5. Amanda March 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    Great idea, I’d not heard that one. I read somewhere that if you sniff coffee, it neutralizes whatever it is that makes you tear up, and that has always worked for me, when it’s really bad.

    Lindsey – when you soak grains, would ‘homemade’ buttermilk (milk with 1T. lemon sat for 5 min.) work, or does it have to be specifically store-bought? I’m planning on trying kefir soon, but until then I’d like to start soaking.

    • Lindsay March 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm #

      Lemon juice alone works as an acid medium, so if you desire to combine it with milk to make your own homemade version, I am sure that would qualify.

  6. Tamra March 3, 2009 at 12:03 pm #

    Just came across your site and wanted to let you know I’m enjoying it very much! We have a lot in common, and there’s always more to learn. Thanks for all your work!

  7. Elodie March 3, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    I didn’t know that. My way is to wet the onion, the knife and the cutting board with cold water before I chop them, and it works! :)

  8. Norma March 3, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    Hi ,
    Thank you so much for the great tips! Do you have a recipe for making my your own dishwasher detergent? I do have the one for making laundry detergent.
    Thank you,

    • Lindsay March 3, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

      Yes, you can find my homemade dishwasher detergent here.

  9. April - Team Tottle March 3, 2009 at 9:37 am #

    I actually store my onions in the refrigerator (are you not supposed to?) but my eyes still water (and burn) severely. What has worked for me is wearing sunglasses while I chop and having a candle burning very near the onion. I read that online somewhere. The flame supposedly burns up the gases that are released as you cut the onion. It works great for me.

  10. Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home March 3, 2009 at 8:10 am #

    Thanks for the great tips! I keep the onions in my fridge, but never thought about not cutting the root portion. I will be trying that the next time I cook!

  11. Kim March 3, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    You know what else I’ve learned? That if you wear contacts you won’t get teary eyed either. For some reason covering the eye makes it so the onion doesn’t have that effect on you. I once thought that I was just immuned but then I cut onions with my glasses on and realized I wasn’t but made the connection with me wearing my contacts. So have a spare on hand even if you don’t need them LOL. Call them your onion cutting contacts! Hee! Hee! Okay we’ll go with your idea!

    • MacKenzie March 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

      Just last weekend, I cut an onion and it was much much worse than the normal effects. I couldn’t figure out why until I read that, I was in fact wearing my glasses when I am normally wearing contacts. How odd, I guess that is one good thing about having bad eyesight and needing contacts!

  12. kate March 2, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Thank you for the great tip! And perfect timing- I just bought two big bags of onions on sale that I am planning to chop and freeze tomorrow. Thanks!

  13. Erica March 2, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    I always whistle while chopping onions. It works, No tears when I do that. : )