Onion Tears Gotcha Down? Tempted to Buy Expensive Pre-Chopped Onions? READ THIS.
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These are certainly not tears of joy.
So I have a predicament that many people find themselves in. I love adding onions to my cooking (it’s one of my tried and true tips for flavoring keto meals), but I can’t stand chopping them. 😭 I mean, how do you even cut onions without crying? I tear up every single time I slice into one!
Did you know: The reason for onion tears is the chemical irritant syn-propanethial-S-oxide which stimulates eye glands to release tears.
To be honest, I’m so often tempted to just cut my losses and pick up the pack of pre-chopped onions in the produce department. It’s just so not frugal, though! The precut packages can be up to five times the cost of just buying a whole onion and dicing it myself.
But it brings me back to the hassle of having to deal with the stinging tears each and every time I want to add a bit of oniony-flavor to my favorite dishes.
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“I love cutting onions” are words that have never come out of Collin’s mouth. In all seriousness, does anyone buy the already chopped (much more expensive!) onions at the store?! I’m often tempted! 😬 Help! How do you chop onions with no tears and lots of joy??? #ihatechoppingonions
Luckily, when I took to Instagram to express my frustration, our awesome Hip2Save Community heard my cries and offered some advice to battle against my onion woes. Check out these tried and true tips, tricks, and favorite products so you’ll know how to cut onions without crying and without spending a bunch of money on pre-chopped onions! 🙌
1. Wear goggles while cutting.
If you’ve got a shield for your eyes, the natural irritant won’t have much effect. Amazon, of course, sells pairs of goggles for this specific application. Not only are they a hilarious accessory, they actually do work as long as they are really tight around your eyes!
Hip2Save readers have mentioned that ski goggles, safety goggles, swim goggles, and sunglasses can work just as well. Even popping your contact lenses in can help shield your eyes from the onion gases.
2. Open up your mouth.
This unique idea stems from the theory that opening your mouth while chopping will cause you to stop breathing through your nose (you inhale from your mouth instead), thus preventing the tears from forming. Simple, yet effective!
3. Chew on something.
Another interesting suggestion is to chew on a toothpick or gum, which I’m also guessing is to force you to breathe in and out through your mouth. One reader mentioned that chewing on bread may also help, as (supposedly) the bread can aid in absorbing the chemical released. However, that may not be the best option for me with keto. 😆
4. Invest in an onion chopper or food processor.
Not only does this cut my chopping time in half, but having the sliced pieces contained in plastic prevents the onion gases from making their way toward my face. No tears here, and it’s a time saver! Prepworks has a handy appliance that does the trick (though any small food processor would do).
5. Switch to a sweeter onion.
It seems that the most potent fumes come from white onions, though there are more varieties of the vegetable available. Vidalia, Spanish, or yellow onions tend to produce less of the gas that causes tears and are milder in flavor.
6. Buy frozen packages of chopped onion.
I love this idea! It’s frugal and saves me the hassle of cutting the onion myself. You can often find bags of frozen chopped onion for only a little more than buying the onion whole, and they’re MUCH less than the pre-cut packages in the produce section.
To be even more frugal, you can chop multiple onions at once and freeze them in individual baggies for easy access in your next recipe. Check out some tips from HGTV for how to freeze chopped onions.
7. Combat the scent with essential oils.
I’m really not sure how this works, but I couldn’t believe the number of comments suggesting essential oils, specifically the Young Living Thieves bottle! Just by opening it up and placing it near the cutting board, the scent is said to take away the burn caused by the irritating gases.
8. Light a candle nearby.
Similarly, lighting a candle and placing it nearby can help burn off the chemical in the air so it never gets the chance to stimulate the tear duct. All the more reason to stock up on candles!
9. Blow away the fumes.
Instead of burning up the gas, simply blow it away by placing a small fan next to the cutting board (which whisks it out of the air and away from your eyes). This method can also help when you’re sautéing the onions on the stovetop, too.
10. Chill the onion before cutting.
Stick the onion in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting, since the cooled vegetable will emit less of the chemical compound. You can also peel and soak the onion in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes before cutting. Some have even mentioned that chilling the knife can help, too.
What’s your favorite tip?
Share in the comments below!