Why Do Onions Make Us Cry

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Why Do Onions Make Us Cry

Have you ever faced the sad part of cooking while chopping onions? It burns our eyes and makes us crying. Have you ever wondered why is that? Here is your answer.

What do onions contain?

Onions carry amino acid sulfoxide that produces sulphenic acid in the onions. Enzymes of the onions and sulphenic acid are kept separately in the onion cells. When we cut an onion, one of its enzyme named synthase is released into the air and creates PROPANETHIAL S-OXIDE from sulfenic acid stored in onion. This propanediol S-oxide is actually a volatile sulfur compound which is mixable in the air. This gas passes through the air, reaches to our eyes causes burning and makes us cry.The sulfur compound is also responsible for the odor of the onion.

If we can keep away that propanediol S-oxide from our eyes we stop them burning and hold the tears. So, what could be the effective ways to keep that away or disable the synthase enzyme?

Tips to avoid the tears:

  1. The fan should be turned off while chopping onions. The more air is passing the more propanediol S-oxide is mixing in the air.
  2. refrigerate the onions before chopping. Refrigerations freezes the enzymes and stops mixing with sulphenic acid.
  3. Wearing a glass can decrease the burning of eyes.
  4. Cooking the onion can deactivate the enzymes. You can cook the onion after de-skinning and before chopping.
  5. Soaking the onions in the water immediately after chopping can absorb the gas which occurs tears.
  6. Lighting a candle or flame nearer to the chopping board can help. It draws the gas to itself.

 

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