Cutting Onions: Chasing Tears with Candlelight (Spoiler: It’s Not So Illuminating!)
Oh boy, let me tell you about my onion-cutting adventures! You know how cutting onions can turn you into a crying mess? Well, I heard this trick about using a lighted candle to make it all better. I was curious, so I decided to give it a shot.
So, there I was, armed with a candle and a fresh onion. I lit up the candle and placed it nearby as I started chopping away. I must admit, it felt kinda cool, like I was performing some sort of culinary magic trick. I imagined the flame burning off all those pesky onion compounds before they reached my poor eyes.
But let me tell you, despite the theatrics, it didn’t make much of a difference. My eyes still welled up, and tears started streaming down my face. It turns out, the scientific reasoning behind it isn’t as magical as I thought.
See, when you cut an onion, it releases this chemical compound called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. This stuff loves to irritate our eyes and make us cry. The candle’s flame supposedly burns or neutralizes this compound before it can wreak havoc on our delicate peepers. Sounds good in theory, right?
But here’s the thing: there’s not much scientific evidence backing up this claim. Sure, the heat from the flame might break down a bit of that compound, but it won’t eliminate it entirely. Those onion fumes will still find a way to reach your eyes and make you weep.
Turns out, the best way to tackle this onion dilemma is to prevent those compounds from getting to your eyes in the first place. Here’s what I’ve learned through my onion-chopping adventures:
First, try cutting the onions near a running fan or under a range hood. The idea is to create an airflow that will carry away those pesky onion fumes.
Second, grab a sharp knife. A sharp blade will minimize damage to the onion cells, which means fewer compounds released into the air.
Third, if you have the time, pop the onion in the fridge before chopping it. The cold temperature slows down the release of those tear-inducing compounds.
Fourth, try cutting the onion while submerged in water or under running water. This helps trap the compounds and prevents them from reaching your eyes.
And if you’re really serious about avoiding the waterworks, consider investing in a pair of goggles or onion-cutting glasses. They create a physical barrier, protecting your eyes from the onion’s pungent assault.
So, while the candle trick might offer a bit of comfort due to the flame’s proximity, it’s not a foolproof method. Trust me, I’ve been there, and my eyes can attest to it. Stick to these practical tips, and you’ll be able to conquer those onions without shedding a tear. Happy chopping!