Why does cutting onion make you cry?

Filed under: General |
onions gas

Cutting onions

Hard to imagine if a chef has a kitchen with no onion in it.  Since the onion is a basic ingredient of a requirement for many dishes. Onion, makes a delicious and savory dishes. However, for slicing the onion, it was hard to restrain tears. We often cry when we slice onion.

Why do we cry?
Slicing onions means damage onion cells, and this will make the substances that presented in onion cells out. These substances will react and form a gas that attacks our corneas.  This gas is known as the Lachrymatory Factor (Crying Factor). Cornea will recognize these gases as harmful substances. And as usually cornea reacts when there are hazardous substances stuck to the cornea, such as dust and smoke,  the eyes will shed tears for neutralizing. Tears would wash and clean the gas from the cornea.  This tear production will make us seen like crying.

You may ask how not to cry when slicing the onion. There are several ways, beside using google, First, you can put the onion into freezer for several hours before you slice the onion. Freezing will make the temperature inside the onion cells become much lower and the cell liquid will be slightly frozen. This temperature will slow the chemical reactions that produce tear gas for some time.



There are good tips for when you slice the onion in large quantities. Remove the onions from the freezer in small batches. Do not remove all the onions at a time onto the table to slice. Because this will cause the temperature of onion will become warmer as before put into the freezer. and also, put the onion slices away from you, or put into a container filled with water. This helps reduce the amount of volatile gases that come out of the onion cells.

Another way to reduce tear gas attack issued by the onion is cut with a knife a very sharp and thin. Thin and sharp blade will reduce the effects of damage on onions. When the number of cells damaged by the incision is reduced, then the number of tear gas that comes out goes down. If you’re concerned with onion tear gas, do not ever chop onions. you know why…

The easiest and most effective way is to put a fan near you when you slice an onion. The wind will blow and make the gas away from your eyes.

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5 Responses to Why does cutting onion make you cry?

  1. Pingback: Why Does Slicing An Onion Make You Cry? | Did You Ever Wonder?

  2. Hello I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on your post. I will come back to your blog for more soon!

    Porfirio Shortt
    June 23, 2011 at 1:55 am

  3. why does onion make you cry?
    what ingredients do onion have that cause you to cry?

    May 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

  4. Hi Nathalie… I think the article above has given an explanation. :)

    May 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

  5. Another tip to cutting onions without crying is to cut the onion under water.

    May 13, 2013 at 3:14 pm

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