How to avoid crying when chopping onions

Aug 21, 2009 at 1:10 a.m. ET

Slicing onions got you down? Well, you can stop the tears now. Here's how to avoid crying when chopping onions!

Chopped onion

Step 1: Go hands-off

Chop onions in your food processor. Be sure not to over-process the onions, and to wait a few seconds before opening to give the tiny gas droplets produced by cutting the onion a chance to settle.

Step 2: Just chill

Keep onions in the fridge, or put one in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting. (Although onions don't have to be refrigerated, chilled onions produce fewer tears.)

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Step 3: Wash it away

Cut the onion under cold running water to wash away the irritants before they can make it up to your eyes.

Step 4: Avoid the root

The National Onion Association says that you can reduce tearing when cutting onions by first cutting off the top, then peeling off the outer layers, leaving the root area intact. Why? The root end of the onion has the largest concentration of sulphuric compounds that make your eyes tear.

Step 5: Use eye protection

Wear goggles -- such as swim goggles or woodworking goggles -- to protect your eyes from the vapor.

Step 6: TRY The bread trick

As if the goggles tip wasn't strange enough... Try holding a slice of bread (well, or any food) between your teeth while chopping. How could that help? The theory is that doing so tends to force you to breathe through your mouth, making you less likely to get the irritants up your nose, thereby being less likely to tear up.

Step 7: Consolidate cutting tasks

If you use onions frequently, chop up several at once and store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Use them as as needed, which will save you time and tears!

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For more info on this topic...For some fabulous onion recipes, check out:
Walla Walla onion recipes and Caramelized onion recipes