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A few years in the past, at a birthday celebration for my brother, a fellow visitor (and chef) gave me an important meals preparation tip that I’ve carried with me ever since: The way to cube an onion.
I’ve used his method for years and it positively makes dicing onions simple and neat, however I solely just lately discovered there is a large bonus — fewer tears whereas reducing the onion. I nearly by no means cry when reducing an onion with this technique, and if I do, it is often as a result of I goofed up.
Be taught my technique for rapidly dicing an onion and why it prevents tears, together with another methods to keep away from crying whereas reducing onions in case you are notably delicate.
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Why do onions make us cry?
Onions are within the allium genus of flowering crops that features garlic, leeks, shallots and chives. They develop as bulbs below the bottom and embrace poisonous substances of their roots to guard themselves from moles and different underground pests. These toxins are sturdy sufficient to poison cats and dogs.
To not get too technical, however onions take sulfur from soil to create amino acid sulfoxides. When an onion is reduce, these sulfoxides mix with different enzymes within the onion to create sulfur gasoline. When that gasoline interacts with the moisture round your eyes, it creates sulfur dioxide, which burns and causes your eyes to tear.
How do I cube an onion with out crying?
Many of the onion’s sulfoxides reside in its root — the spherical half with hairs on the backside of the onion. For those who can depart the foundation untouched, you may considerably scale back the quantity of chemical substances that make you cry when reducing.
One easy technique is to cut off the foundation finish after which discard it while you begin. You possibly can then cube the remainder of the onion nevertheless you want.
This manner works nice, and if you wish to cease there, nice. However I believe my technique is even higher as a result of it avoids dicing the foundation whereas letting you simply work with the remainder of the onion.
First, reduce the onion longways, from tip to root. (Sure, this can reduce the foundation in half, but it surely’s the one time you’ll reduce it.) Then take away the inedible outer layers, and slice off the tip of 1 half.
Now you are able to cube. Make a sequence of slices throughout one of many halves horizontally, beginning half an inch from the highest. Most significantly, cease slicing earlier than you attain the foundation, so you permit the onion linked on the root finish.
Subsequent, make a sequence of vertical cuts with the tip of your knife pointing towards the foundation, beginning at one facet and shifting to the opposite. Once more, do not reduce into the foundation finish — slice down the onion with the tip of your knife stopping wanting the foundation. Cautious: These cuts present the most important likelihood for making a mistake and unintentionally slicing the foundation.
To end dicing the onion, make a 3rd sequence of slices beginning on the finish farthest from the foundation and shifting your knife steadily nearer with every reduce. These slices will separate your diced items from the remainder of the onion.
End your ultimate vertical slice proper earlier than you attain the foundation, which could be tossed, leaving you with a pleasant, neat pile of diced onion. Repeat this course of with the opposite half of the onion to complete your preparation.
What are another methods to keep away from tears from onions?
I put on contact lenses, which supply safety in opposition to onions’ sulfur output, so I’m much less vulnerable to crying when reducing. For those who strive my dicing technique and nonetheless end up with tears, there are just a few different methods you should utilize to scale back the impact of onions.
First, strive refrigerating your onions briefly earlier than reducing them. The National Onion Association recommends chilling onions for half-hour earlier than preparation. The colder temperature will decelerate the sulfur gasoline, it says, inflicting much less response together with your eyes. (The group additionally recommends maintaining the foundation intact.)
Subsequent, strive sharpening your knife. A uninteresting knife will smash the onion greater than a pointy one and should launch extra of the offending sulfoxides.
Lastly, when you’re nonetheless crying, strive reducing your onions below a ceiling fan or kitchen vent. Each might assist dissipate the sulfur gasoline earlier than it assaults your eyes.
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