Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Love ONION to Tears

I have a love/hate relationship with onions.

It's really not possible to flavor food without them. Don't play devil's advocate with me here and start talking about the virtues of garlic. Besides, garlic and onion are in the same family right? Roots covered in paper that make your breath stink. I'm  pretty sure that's the scientific way to classify foods.

The problem? Onion brings me to tears!

This is no small problem, especially when you have blonde eye-lashes and wear as much mascara as I do.

The worst is holidays or dinner parties, when I have people coming over and am dicing onions by the bushel. I use to have to keep a gallon of water on hand, drinking compulsively so I would get dehydrated from a steady stream of stinging onion tears.

Solution: Resort to onion powder? NEVER!

Martha Stewart suggested lighting a candle next to your cutting board. The flame burns the chemical released by the onion, which brings on the water works. I love you Martha, but you're WAY OFF on this one.

I've covered my nose and mouth with a kerchief to keep from breathing in the tear inducing fumes. Not good enough.

I tried taking a big slurp of water and holding it in my mouth while cutting. This was NOT my idea. It IS ridiculous. I talk way to much to just hold water in my mouth. And if you start to laugh, things get messy . . . and contaminated.

Goggles? That was my idea. Talk about messing up your eye make-up. Dumb idea.

However, when I lived in North Dakota, the hot humid summers in upstairs apartments used to turn my onions to black slime in no time. Being a girl that likes to buy in bulk, I refused to surrender my red mesh bag of inexpensive onions to individual onions that I would use up then wonder, "Why don't I ever have onions when I need 'em?"

Instead, I kept buying my 5lb bags and put them in my fridge's cold crisper instead of a cool dry place, like a cellar.

A magical thing happened . . .

The onions became far less offensive and tear inducing when raw. Reason? The amino acid sulfoxides become far less active when cold. Their dispersal area is less. Result - fewer tears!

If you don't have room in your refrigerator to store your onions, simply think ahead and chill your onion before you cut into it: about 1 hour in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer (don't actually freeze the onion though).

Your welcome!


  1. This is brilliant! I despise the fact that onions make me cry (truthfully, I despise the fact that it makes my mascara run). I'm definitely going to try this next time I dice up some onion :)

  2. LOL! I love onions too..and I am crying every single time:)))) My youngest one always says what's wrong ma' something hurt!(he is 4)
    Love the photos!

  3. Thanks you two! But seriously, what I really need are make-up tips:-) Ha ha ha!

    Sandra, my kids tell me two - MOM my eyes hurt! My eyes hurt!

    That when I get peeved and yell back - Then go outside!

  4. I'm trying this tonight! Thanks for the helpful hint! I hate chopping onions!

  5. What Rochelle? The Maybelline or the chilly onion? Ha ha ha.

  6. Great idea Lindsey, love your tears photos while feeling your pain...

  7. yep this actually works. I do this all the time. great tip

  8. I have noticed a few less tears after the onion has been in the fridge, great tip!

  9. hahaha!! Your posts never fail to put a smile on my face! I always keep my onions in the fridge- and all this time I thought it was my strength of character!!

  10. Heh. Funny. I'm not particularly sensitive to onions, but when I come across an unusually pungent one, I find it helps to stick my face in the freezer, or out the window if it's cold. I guess it's the same principle. :)

  11. I learned the refrigerator trick in a cooking class, but my problem is that I'm always behind schedule and never have time to chill them before I need them. But it does seem to help.

  12. I've been wearing contacts for years, and not crying when cutting onions. How about we just get our optometrists to prescribe some pretty new eye-colors for us and we can still wear our Maybelline and cut onions to our heart's content?

  13. hehe what a cute post! I did find out that little trick on my own once, thank goodness too! I remember the first time I cut onions thinking it wouldn't be as bad as everyone claims..boy was I wrong! haha

  14. Hahaha! Oh this is such a good post - I love onions so much I could cry too! Chewing gum usually works for me, but I will definitely try out putting them in the fridge - thank you for the good laugh :D

  15. Girl i wear just as much mascara to and man does it run when im cutting onions. My husband stands next to me so he can dab the tears away so no black tears drips on the food. Thanks for the tip i need something because im tired of my mascara running and i know my husband hates having to dab at my black tears.