Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 26

Why do we cry when we chop onions?

The answer begins in the soil. Onions are part of the plant genus Allium, along with garlic, chives, leeks and about 400 other cousins. These vegetables absorb sulfur in the earth, which helps form a class of volatile organic molecules called amino acid sulfoxides. These sulfoxides are the real tear-jerkers when onions go under the knife.

And what can we do to avoid the tears? Freezing an onion for 20 minutes, or wearing goggles (or even sunglasses!) will reduce the gas' interaction with the eyes. Classy!


  1. I have totally used goggles before! Onions kill my eyes. My mom says the trick is not to open your mouth while cutting them, not even a little bit. It works pretty well for me!

  2. hee hee, I've also tried running a tap while cutting them and find it helps too!

  3. I make Mr.P chop when we are using onions, otherwise it's like to trying to see underwater. My eyes are watering just thinking about it and typing this!