Cooking

The Real Reason Why Onions Make You Cry

Because those definitely aren't tears of joy
Why Do Onions Make You Cry
Photo: matt via Flickr

Working in the kitchen comes with plenty of hazards, but one of the most irritating might be the ol’ ugly cry that happens when you start chopping an onion. While you might be excited about the dish you’re preparing, those aren’t tears of joy—but there’s a scientific explanation for your watery eyes.

When you cut into an onion, a chemical called syn-propanethial-S-oxide is released, which stimulates the eyes and causes you to cry.

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Since onions are a staple in so many recipes, you can’t just cut them out of your life. So here are a few ways to keep that pesky syn-propanethial-S-oxide in check.

① Make sure your knife is very sharp.

② Chill the onion in the refrigerator for five to 10 minutes before chopping.

③ Safely slice onions on a cutting board close to an open flame. (Martha Stewart helpfully demonstrates in this video.)

 As soon as you cut the onion, turn over the exposed area and keep the sliced pieces in a closed container.

Or you could just be an onion-chopping master who’s made of stone, like this guy.

Happy chopping!

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