cutting onions

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how do you prevent yourself from crying like a baby?

Face Book (dyao), Saturday, 22 May 2010 15:35 (ten years ago) link

one method that I've been using lately that seems to work okay is to make sure you start out with a completely dry knife and cutting board. I've heard the best way is to cut near an open flame, like next to your burner, but that seems kind of dangerous and hot.

Face Book (dyao), Saturday, 22 May 2010 15:36 (ten years ago) link

Having contacts in makes a giant difference, if you have contacts.

salad dressing of doom (Laurel), Saturday, 22 May 2010 15:39 (ten years ago) link

I wear glasses and that during a particularly bad experience that just seemed to just trap the fumes. contacts, how do they work?

Face Book (dyao), Saturday, 22 May 2010 15:40 (ten years ago) link

Well, they seal most of the exposed surface of your eye away from outside air.

salad dressing of doom (Laurel), Saturday, 22 May 2010 16:02 (ten years ago) link

http://www.howtodothings.com/food-drink/how-to-cut-onions-with-no-tears

Cutting the onion in half and rinsing it under cold water before the final chop works very well for me.

Grisly Addams (WmC), Saturday, 22 May 2010 16:57 (ten years ago) link

This is very easy. Most of the nasty stuff is near the root.

1) Skin still on, slice the onion in half, tip to root.
2) Place both halves face down on the cutting board
3) Peel back the skin to the root.
4) Cut off the tip
5) Make vertical longways cuts root to tip end
6) Do the same horizontally for a finer dice
7) slice across towards the root
8) Discard the root

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Saturday, 22 May 2010 17:19 (ten years ago) link

even that does not work for me :(

ampersand (remy bean), Saturday, 22 May 2010 17:29 (ten years ago) link

A lot depends on the onion. Sweet onions (Vidalia, Maui, Peruvian sweets, etc) don't give me any problems, but low-sugar storage onions are pretty toxic.

Grisly Addams (WmC), Saturday, 22 May 2010 17:47 (ten years ago) link

it's nice to know that this is particularly bad for me because of my glasses, but there is no way that i could chop w/ my glasses off

mr. milquetoast (J0rdan S.), Saturday, 22 May 2010 17:47 (ten years ago) link

weird, i was told ages ago that this had nothing to do with your eyes, and everything to do w/yr nose. like, hold your nose and you won't tear up.

anyway, i think i have only cried chopping onions like twice? i just halve them, cut off the tip and tail, peel, and chop

gbx, Saturday, 22 May 2010 17:55 (ten years ago) link

it's definitely your nose. i think rubbing the cutting board with lemon worked for me once but i just suffer through it now

Guns, Computer, The Internet (harbl), Saturday, 22 May 2010 18:03 (ten years ago) link

ed, isn't that just the normal way of chopping onions?

django weingart (samosa gibreel), Saturday, 22 May 2010 18:37 (ten years ago) link

you'd think so but some people do all kinds of crazy things.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Saturday, 22 May 2010 21:00 (ten years ago) link

Even shallots kill me. Even with yellow onions, sometimes I have to open the window and wait for the air to clear.

salad dressing of doom (Laurel), Saturday, 22 May 2010 21:55 (ten years ago) link

I've found it to be true that the sharper the knife, the less I cry. I just work quickly with a very sharp blade - cut slices, then chop across those, not Ed's way.

Jaq, Saturday, 22 May 2010 22:39 (ten years ago) link

Well, they seal most of the exposed surface of your eye away from outside air.

― salad dressing of doom (Laurel), Sunday, May 23, 2010 12:02 AM (6 hours ago) Bookmark

I would have imagined they trap the poisonous onion fumes in your eyes! I've put in contacts after washing my hands with relatively heavy chlorinated water and it was not fun

Face Book (dyao), Saturday, 22 May 2010 22:42 (ten years ago) link

Post-Lasik, the only thing I miss about wearing contacts is that they protected my eyes during onion chopping (which, of course, I didn't realize they did until the first time I cooked something after my surgery - oh, the pain!). When you cut onions you're breaking cells that release an acid. You can avoid the dispersed acid by wearing goggles or having a fan blow across the cutting board and away from you.

lindseykai, Sunday, 23 May 2010 15:57 (ten years ago) link

cut near an open flame, like next to your burner
This really works for me.

kate78, Monday, 24 May 2010 22:08 (ten years ago) link

Having a tiny flame at the bottom of an almost used up votive jar a foot away from the cutting board does not help, fwiw.

frozen cookie (Abbott), Tuesday, 25 May 2010 16:42 (ten years ago) link

oh man there is this great rolf song on the muppets called i never hurt an onion so why do they make me cry which is an apt meditation on this subject. i used to wear swim goggles or ski goggles any kind of goggles before i became much better with the knife. and you look fuxin crazy in yr goggles which is fun. or you could set up a fan to blow the volatile sulfer compounds away from yr work surface. but yea just work as quickly as you can. i also heard that if you smoke in close chronology to chopping onions that makes yr mucus membranes mo senstive, but i can find no citations to back that up.

Don't believe it, I smoke pretty much from the time I get home from work until I go to bed, and therefore "cutting onions" is always somewhere in between those two points and the sulfur still kills me.

the soul of the avocado escapes as soon as you open it (Laurel), Tuesday, 25 May 2010 21:19 (ten years ago) link

right! he's saying it makes your mucus membranes more sensitive -- therefore, clearly you should stop smoking so much ;)

an outlet to express the dark invocations of (La Lechera), Tuesday, 25 May 2010 21:49 (ten years ago) link

i found if u don't stand directly over the cutting board the fumes don't get all up in ur face as much. or just use a food processor to finely chop it

( `ハ´)☞  ☜(´∀`☜) (am0n), Tuesday, 25 May 2010 21:55 (ten years ago) link

yea just getcha one o them chopper thingys with the zig zag blade like this
http://www.preparedpantry.com/productimages/kitchentools/Full-deluxenutchopper.jpg

whoa most phallic kitchen implement ever?

an outlet to express the dark invocations of (La Lechera), Tuesday, 25 May 2010 23:40 (ten years ago) link

i guess u could use this one but it's not as fun
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3262/3208097084_b0ccaac1ed.jpg

i basically never cry cutting onions. occasionally i do if a bit of chopped onion springs up and hits me in the eye but that's seldom. i have a distinct memory of crying when my mother cut onions when i was child though, so i have no idea where that went to.

Thaksin Albert Shinawatra (jim in glasgow), Wednesday, 26 May 2010 00:05 (ten years ago) link

ok should I buy a SLAP CHOP for cutting onions

Face Book (dyao), Wednesday, 26 May 2010 01:01 (ten years ago) link

jim in glasgow: sheds no tears for you, goddamn onions!

dyao- i was being silly. get yr knives sharpened and oh who really gives a fuck get a slap chop

Shallots make my eyes go even crazier with the tears than onions. Is this the case for others?

breaking that little dog's heart chakra (Abbott), Wednesday, 26 May 2010 19:26 (ten years ago) link

no, the worst for me is plain yellow onions. shallots are fine and i try to use them more than other onions because of that and because i like them better

harbl, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 19:39 (ten years ago) link

I find it helps a lot to refrigerate the onions for a while before chopping.

Brad C., Wednesday, 26 May 2010 19:42 (ten years ago) link

Cutting onions (and shallots) hasn't made me cry in years, but it used to. I don't know if I changed, or the onions did.

dyao -- no slap chop! "as seen on tv" kitchen gadgetry is a pain in the ass to wash, and knife skills are easy to come by

Grisly Addams (WmC), Wednesday, 26 May 2010 19:43 (ten years ago) link

Oh I totally mis-read the thing about smoking. Obviously.

My knives are all really really dull, which is crushing the cells open and making it 10x worse. I could solve my own problem by finding a nearby kitchen store or something.

the soul of the avocado escapes as soon as you open it (Laurel), Wednesday, 26 May 2010 19:44 (ten years ago) link

haha okay no slap chop! but should I buy a shamwow! to soak up my tears after cutting the onions?

Face Book (dyao), Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:08 (ten years ago) link

absolutely yes to shamwow

Laurel, the Lansky sharpening system that Jaq turned me on to is really great -- and I supplement that with this little critter to hone the blade every couple of chopping sessions.

Grisly Addams (WmC), Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:29 (ten years ago) link

I sharpened all my knives a few weeks ago with the Lansky, after teaching Lingbert how to use it one evening. Any ILXors that want to ship me their knives (or bring them to Seattle) - I will sharpen them and return promptly :) It's very meditative.

Jaq, Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:41 (ten years ago) link

totally thought about this thread last night as i was tearing up peeling onions. that is the slow part for me, you get the top off then have to be all gingerly to peel only the dried layers off. and like beck i'm a full grown man but not afraid to cry

my mum puts a glass of water beside the chopping board, claiming this absorbs something or other, it sounds vaguely scientific. i do this too sometimes, it's v weird tho, sometimes my eyes will go mental but i'd say 7/10 i have no reaction whatsoever when chopping onions. i sometimes feel this is a poor indictment of the onion...

I see what this is (Local Garda), Saturday, 29 May 2010 11:34 (ten years ago) link


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