Something to Stop Crying About

Winter 2002 CSANews Issue 45  |  Posted date : Apr 12, 2007.Back to list

Ever wonder why we cry when we cut up onions? Certain enzymes which are released when the onion is chopped react with the moisture in our eyes and create sulfuric acid...it's no wonder we cry!

Scientists have always believed that the same enzyme which causes us to cry provides that zingy taste we love, but researchers in Japan have discovered that there may be a second enzyme which is the real criminal.

The consequences? Scientists may be able to create an onion which gets rid of the tears but keeps the taste.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you stop the tears when chopping:

Light a candle near the chopping board (make sure to keep it away from anything flammable!). The flame burns up the sulfuric acid before it gets to your eyes.

Refrigerate the onions to slow the release of the offending enzyme.

Pour a small amount of white distilled vinegar on your cutting board to neutralize the fumes.