There's Actually A Word For All The Produce That Can Make You Cry

The tears pour down your face. It is, after all, a cry-worthy moment. No, you haven't just been informed of a great tragedy. Your stock prices haven't plummeted and you aren't heartbroken over a Hallmark movie. The thing that has rendered you a watery, blubbery mess is those darn onions. There must be some way to make the waterworks stop.

While you could always don a pair of properly-fitting swim goggles to prevent your tears, there are easier and less expensive methods to stop crying while cutting onions. The Pioneer Woman swears by this clever freezer hack. Simply put your onion in your freezer for roughly 10 to 15 minutes before slicing into it. The one thing to remember here, however, is that you'll have to cut that sucker up quickly or it will start to unfreeze, making your eyes water once again. Insider recommends using another clever trick for chopping onions. They say you should use a very sharp cutting tool as this makes a cleaner cut, releasing less tear-inspiring fumes. And, when Thrillist tried cutting an onion beneath a kitchen fan, it successfully pulled much of the fume-riddled air away, resulting in far less eye squirting.

Why do these methods work? It all has to do with the characteristics possessed by this family of tear duct-activating plants and why they make eyes water.

It it makes you cry, it's an allium

If a veggie makes you cry when you cut it, it's highly probable that it's a member of the Allium family. According to MasterClass, the edible members of this clan include onions, leeks, chives, shallots, and garlic. They all provide dishes with excellent bursts of flavor, but they can also provide your eyes with a good cleansing cry. Why? Chemist and author, Eric Block, shared with MPR that onions (and other alliums) inhabit the Earth, and the only defense against those who want to devour them are their "chemical defense systems." Basically, by assaulting enemies with tear-causing fumes, they hope that no one will want to chomp on them.

But why do you cry? The Library of Congress shares the science behind this surprising reaction. Apparently, these plants release a "lachrymatory-factor synthase" into the air that undergoes some chemical conversions until it becomes "syn-Propanethial-S-oxide." While this sounds all very technical, the bottom line is that it annoys your eyes and, in response, you cry. That's why it's so hard to cut onions without crying.  

Thankfully, you are not defenseless against the allium. Test out some of the aforementioned sob-stopping onion hacks. And, if all else fails, sport those sexy underwater goggles.