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Onion cutting

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
This is perhaps a glarring sign i am an amature, but i have a rather pressing question. I can not for seem to cut an onion without suffering intense pain in my eyes. to much so in fact that i can't even seem to see as my eyes are buring and watering. what do you recommend to solve this problem of cutting onions. (i don't think time is the answer, cause it has been a problem for several years)
post #2 of 51
I usually hold my breath... Try going to the walk'in if it gets so bad and you can't see your knife. If you deal with them on a daliy basis you should build up a tolerance. They do make non tearing onions, though there a pretty penny! :ciao:
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post #3 of 51
Try this, cut the onion in half, put it in cold water and let it rest in the fridge for about a half hour or so. then while it is wet, slice it up. For me, the onion actually has a better flavor in the end product and the weight of the water keeps the stuff that makes your eyes hurt too heavy to fly up and ruin your day. Gravity used to your advantage.

If you then are sauteeing them or whatever, pat them dry before you cook them.

In any case, if you use Red Onion in a salad or raw anywhere, soaking the sliced onion in cold water for a while makes your salad 20% better just for doing that.
post #4 of 51
Onions irritate your nose not your eyes. that's why you should try and breath through your mouth. In the old days some would put a matchstick between their teeth for that purpose.
Of course you should work in a highly ventilated area when you can. Outside, window open or with a fac. Slice and cut. Don't chop. Chill the onion before hand, refrigerator for example.
Also the there's a higher concentration of the tearing chemicals close to the root. Don't chop that area.
Wash the onion before hand. Use a sharp knife.
post #5 of 51
The best method, as stated is to chill your onions prior to dicing. Also using proper techinque to dice an onion will be a less tearful experience then just chopping away at it. Onions contain a chemical and an enzyme that are released and mix together when the onion is cut. The more cutting and mashing the more is released. When these two mix they form a sulfur compound that when mixes with the liquid in your tear ducts, form a mild sulfuric acid. That is what causes your eyes to water.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #6 of 51
breathe through the mouth, and have a good sharp knife. Some onions can be worse then others too. Cool onions help a little.
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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post #7 of 51

the way you stand

hi,

often when cutting onions i observe chefs bending over the onion. therefore try to stand straight and try to cut the onion by holding it away form you.

regards
post #8 of 51
The key to cutting an onion is to have a very sharp knife... The duller the blade, the more pressure is put on the onion which *squirts* the juice into the air. A good sharp knife will avoid this.

What I typically do is first cut off the very top and bottom of the onion. (The root bottom and the top). Then, setting the onion on one of the cut sides, I cut it in half. After that, I put the newly cut halves face down and slice the rings.

I don't usually have issues getting teary eyed (except on occasion), and also, do NOT stand directly over the top of the onion.

-Jason
post #9 of 51

hi

now this is the most common problem while cutting onion wht you can do is use a really sharp(i mean REALLY SHARP)knife and then cut onion there is one more thing you can do you can chew chewing gum while cutting onion i will prevent tears or else put a roundel of onion on your ear and you keep cutting
post #10 of 51
I would suggest a sharp knife.
My life, my choice.....
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My life, my choice.....
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post #11 of 51

Whistle!

Seems kinda wierd, but if you whistle while chopping onions, you're blowing the tear-inducing fumes away from your face...just another helpful hint, in addition to the excellent advice already listed...

Cheers,

Micki
--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
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--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
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post #12 of 51
Okay I know this will sound totally ridiculous but it has worked for me on many (not all) occasions, it was told to me by a former Chef. Take a piece of very wet paper towel folded up and placed under your upper lip. I know, I know:crazy: , but what the heck try it sometime!
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #13 of 51
haha, I gota try this tomorrow :ciao:
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post #14 of 51
The sharper your knife is, the less you'll tear up. I've cut up entire sacks (25lb.) of onions without shedding a tear, a razor sharp knife and good cutting technique is key.
post #15 of 51
Chef tells me that one of his previous plongeurs used to wear a scuba diving mask while peeling and chopping onions. Worked well, looked weird.
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Chris Ward
"Eat it all up! There's children starving in Africa who'd be glad to have that!" - My mother.
"Do you want some of this? The dog doesn't want to eat it so you can have it." My SO's mother.
Cooking and living in Provence, France
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--
Chris Ward
"Eat it all up! There's children starving in Africa who'd be glad to have that!" - My mother.
"Do you want some of this? The dog doesn't want to eat it so you can have it." My SO's mother.
Cooking and living in Provence, France
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post #16 of 51
I DID try this, just because YOU suggested it, Chrose!:crazy: Is this one of those initiation stunts for apprentices?:blush: I looked stupid and it didn't stop the tears:cry: Even my cats were staring at me. :suprise: I think I'll just go back to keeping my knife sharp and keeping the mascara off.;)
Emily

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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #17 of 51
Bingo :chef:
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One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #18 of 51
No really I wasn't kidding. I did say it didn't always work, and I guess I did neglect to mention that you might look kind of ridiculous:o . But the occasional time I tried it, it seemed to help. Ehh whattya gonna do? :beer:
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #19 of 51
perhaps my experience as an entrepreneurial and certified chef.. proper standing posture whilst slicing the onion will minimise any discomfort felt in the eyes.. of course as some bros here suggested, you could soak it in cold water for awhile, maybe few mins before beginning to slice it..will also minimise the tearing..:p ;)
OnCe a cheF, forever a cheF!!



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OnCe a cheF, forever a cheF!!



.. I started CooKing beco's oF lOvE~~
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post #20 of 51
OK, Clean/slice/chop/etc... And get on with your work. If you take the long way of cleaning onions this forum will have 20 onion threads before you clean the first one. Kind of a useless thread. IMHO


Next thread will be.. " HOW DO YOU TIE YOUR CHEF SHOES ? "

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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http://www.frappr.com/chefsunited
One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #21 of 51
A silly thread? For sure it is, but the thought always arises while working through a 50lb bag. Old onions are the worst.

I find it best to face the hood while cutting onions. This way the fumes are pulled away from your face. It seems that cutting them near the line with your back to the stove is more irritating. A sharp knife helps for sure as does washing the hands often in cold water.

AL
post #22 of 51

Onions contain sulfur...

...or a compound thereof....when it combines with water it makes a mild sulfuric acid which is the cause of the burning. The little particulate matter that atomizes into the air when you cut or chop eventually finds its way to your mucus membranes and creates the problem.

A way to help this problem is to freeze the onion for a short period of time. It will start to crystalize the little onion molecules that contain the culprit.

Then they can't atomize as much.

Oops...I guess I'm being too Dexter...LOL! :bounce:

April
post #23 of 51
Turn on your stove's ventilation system and put a cutting board as close to it as you can on nearby counter or a cold portion of the stove etc, NOT on the ceiling :), and stand UPWIND. This will pull the fumes away from you and from the house, too.

(If your system is powerful enough, you can stand downwind and the fresh air blowing past you will keep your eyes from watering.)
post #24 of 51
20 minutes in the freezer. NO TEARS!

Regards Cakerookie
post #25 of 51
It's kind of funny because I tried this once to see if it worked. The mask fogged up so quickly it was pointless. I'd rather just work with a really sharp knife and not work quickly. :-)
post #26 of 51
refrigeration does work.. but you introduce huge amounts of mold spores by throwing the whole sack in the walkin.. in addition onions, mush, and lemons all deteriorate your refrigeration grill WAY quick..

if you batch it out its one more thing to worry about.. or hear the night shift ***** about the days guys not doign for them.. blah blah blah..

if your dicing.. use a method where the onion falls apart the least..

cut the onion in half ( i leave root on) place cut side down.. make cuts going opposite of the "rings" depending on the size you want.. then go back and slice the onion along the ring bias... try and keep the onion intact.. if your slopping it up and throwing it all around your gonna release the gas..

same thing if your going for half moons.. keep it intact until you put it into your container..

if your using a slicer.. i keep my head below the \ of the slicer.. if you do this while powering thru say a 50 lb sack you will notice the onion juice flying over your shoulder and not the incredible burn..
post #27 of 51
Al Dente is right on about the age of the onion.
If you've got a real tear maker it is probably old, from last years harvest.
I try to buy onions (carrots and potatoes too) from vendors with quick product turnover. Look on the bag to see where they are grown. If they are way out of season for that region you should think twice.
The sharp knife is important too. I once was visiting a kitchen when the prep kid pulverized a bag of onions in the Buffalo chopper. It was like someone set off a tear gas canister. He had turned them into a paste and cleared the kitchen.:lol:
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Mmmmm, Lagosta!
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post #28 of 51
I as well found that useing a snorkel mask does the trick, just remember not to exhale through your nose into the mask, not even a little, i can slice a 50 bag of onions non stop like this.
post #29 of 51
I learned 30 yrs ago there is only one sure fire ,simple way, not to tear up. Just put the onions between you and the exhaust hood. Sorry if someone already mentioned this.

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post #30 of 51
Cut in half from root to stem end. Peal, but leave root in tact. Dice or slice as needed. ;)
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