Nigerian Food and Recipes

Why Onions make us cry and how to prevent it

December 05, 2015

Whether it’s just for your regular daily cooking or for an event, cooking with onions can be torture especially if you are cooking for a lot of people. Unless, you do not just eat onions, your food is incomplete if you do not add onions to it. Onions do not care who you are; tall, short, male, female, rich, poor, aje bo or kpako and it is also not interested in your place of origin.

So how can this little vegetable make us cry? The onions release a gas compound called ‘Propanethiol S-oxide’ which when mixed with certain enzymes in the onions create sulfur gas. This gas causes some form of irritation in your eyes making your tear glands to secrete tears to fight the burning sensation.

After digging into this matter, here are some ways from different sources to prevent this gas from affecting your eyes. Try any of the tricks  that is most convenient for you

  • Chill the onions in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. This reduces the effect of the enzymes by not allowing it to be released
  • Cut the onions under running water. This denatures the enzymes and also redirects the gas from getting to your eyes
  • Cut the onions close to a cloud of steam. The steam dissipates the vapour from the onions
  • Soak the water in water before cutting
  • Wear gas tight goggles or eye shields
  • Cut it under an extraction vent in the kitchen.
  • Cut it near a candle flame. The vapour get drawn into the flame




Human touch of chemistry


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