Chilling an onion before cutting it is a commonly suggested method for avoiding tears when chopping. Many people swear by this technique, claiming that it prevents onions from releasing their pungent gasses and irritating the eyes. But does it really work? The answer is yes- cooling an onion before slicing into it can keep you from crying!
Onions contain two substances that are responsible for causing tears: lachrymatory factor (LF) and propanethiol S-oxide (PTSO). LF is a volatile sulfur compound which irritates the mucous membranes in your eyes, while PTSO has been shown to cause tearing reactions even at concentrations below what humans can detect, making it difficult to avoid inhaling or coming into contact with the gas. When an onion is cut open and exposed to air, these two compounds mix together and create a strong odor which causes our eyes to tear up in self defense.
Chilling an onion before cutting into it reduces the amount of LF and PTSO released into the air, thus reducing your chances of having a tearing reaction. This works because cold temperatures slow down chemical reactions; by chilling the onion beforehand, you’re preventing those two compounds from mixing together quite as quickly or intensely as they would at room temperature. Chilled onions also release fewer volatile sulfur compounds overall than unrefrigerated ones – meaning less teary discomfort for you!
That said, chilling an onion isn’t a foolproof way to avoid tears; some people may still experience watering eyes even after pre-cooling their onions. This could be due to personal sensitivity levels (everyone’s noses react differently), as well as how long/thoroughly you chill your produce before slicing into it; if not cooled sufficiently or for long enough periods of time, then LF/PTSO may still escape during cutting despite being chilled beforehand. Some other methods that have been suggested include wearing eye protection such as goggles or safety glasses when chopping onions (to physically shield your eyes), putting on sunglasses indoors (which can block some fumes but shouldn’t be worn instead of safety gear), chewing gum while working with onions (as doing so will keep your mouth closed and reduce inhalation exposure) and using commercial anti-tear products like “No More Tears” sprays (which form protective barriers around your face).
In conclusion, chilling an onion before cutting it can help reduce the amount of LF/PTSO released during slicing – which means fewer tears for those who choose this technique! However, there’s no guarantee that everyone will experience perfectly tearless chopping sessions every time they employ this method; individual sensitivities play a key role here too. If desired results aren’t achieved through pre-chilling alone then one should consider utilizing additional techniques such as wearing protective eyewear or trying out special anti-tear products available on store shelves today.
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