Red onions. Yellow onions. White onions. Green onions. Shallots. I’m a total wimp when it comes to cutting onions of any kind. Thing is, cutting them would be so much fun to me–if, you know, my eyeballs didn’t burst forth with huge tears and seer with obnoxious burning pain! And I know I’m not the only person who balls whenever having to cut onions.
When you slice into an onion with your knife, you release amino acid sulfoxides which form sulfenic acids. These sulfenic acids then mix with enzymes (which formerly were kept separate) from the onion, creating and emitting an annoying chemical irritant called syn-propanethial-S-oxide (say that five times fast). This irritant stimulates the lachrymal glands in the eyes, causing them to gush tears and possibly feel a burning sensation.
There are lots of tricks (some of them kinda bizarre) out there to help you stop this ridiculous crying while cutting onions. But the most effective thing I’ve found is certain essential oils. Three types of essential oils to be specific.
The Oils That Prevent Crying While Cutting Onions
- Clove Essential Oil. Add two drops of clove essential oil to a small bowl of room temperature water and place the bowl close to your cutting board.
- Citrus Essential Oils. Technically, this is quite a few essential oils. Any type of citrus essential oil–lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit, bergamot–can be used. Simply add about 5 drops to your diffuser, place it near your cutting board, and let it work its magic.
- Lavender Essential Oil. Place a tiny drop of lavender essential oil on your fingertip, swipe it on the inside of your cheeks, wait about two minutes, then get to work chopping your onions.