When in the kitchen, there are many adversaries to trip one up. But when cooks start cutting vegetables for soups or casseroles, there is no enemy more insidious than that of the onion. Onions are flavorful and bring much-needed texture to many dishes, but one slice with a knife, and they wage war against your eyeballs. Everyone is accustomed to the tears these villainous vegetables bring on. Take it from the Food Network's Rachael Ray: They can be vicious. However, there is no real way to combatting onion warfare in the kitchen. Ray advises at-home chefs to ignore it.
"You cannot cut onions without crying. [People] wear goggles and glasses and they soak the onions in water, which just takes away a lot of their flavor, they put them in the freezer. Just suck it up and cut the onion," the seasoned cook said on "The Rachael Ray Show," adding, "Get it over with!" Any time devoted to trying to combat tears in the kitchen is time wasted -- at least according to Ray. It's easier to endure nature's defenses than chancing on ruining a perfectly good onion.
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Why Do Onions Make You Cry?
If Rachael Ray says to grit your teeth and get on with it, then maybe that is reasonable advice to take. But there is more reason to ignore the tears than just listening to the advice of a professional. Ray is right -- there really is no efficient way to stop the tears. The tears you shed while trying to make your grandmother's famous recipe are actually the result of a specific chemical reaction in nature. When taking their time growing in the soil, onions tend to absorb whatever is in the ground. This includes sulfur and acidic content. While not necessarily a recipe for disaster, this all changes when you cut into the flesh of the onion.
When this acidic content mixes with enzymes, the combination is dire. It creates a reaction that gives rise to the chemical syn-propanethial-S-oxide. And lo and behold, here come the tears. What you perceive as crying is actually your eyes trying to defend themselves against toxic fumes drifting up from the cut onion. That is Mother Nature for you. Vicious to a fault.
Onion Remedies For The Kitchen
You could take Rachael Ray's sound advice and endure this inevitable onion reaction, but people don't necessarily work that way. There will always be those looking for tricks of the trade, and with onions, there are a few. But nothing will completely render the onions' acidic powers inert, of course. These vegetables pack a punch. However, there are a few onion hacks that can make time in the kitchen less tearless and more palatable.
As Ray conceded on her show, chilling onions has allegedly had success in the past. The cold temperatures reduce the reaction of the enzymes. Chefs also recommend using the sharpest knife possible. This suggestion is just good kitchen etiquette in general, but the sharpness of your utensils is especially significant when cutting onions. If the knife is sharp enough, it is less likely to damage the onion cells, which cuts down on the release of those tricky fumes. Or, you can slice an onion quickly with a vegetable peeler. Ultimately, this is a decision you will have to make for yourself and your kitchen. Does it seem worth it to waste time and energy for a few moments of blurred vision? Perhaps the most egregious sin in the kitchen is diluting the flavor, which is what an onion bath would do. But the choice is up to you.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.