Sliced and whole red, yellow and white pearl onions scattered across a wood cutting board.
The Refrigerator Hack That Makes Chopping Onions Tear-Free
By Betsy Parks
Onions are a great addition to many recipes, but cutting them can bring anyone to tears. However, there's no need to punish your eyes when making something with onions.
To avoid shedding tears, all you need to do is pop your onions in the refrigerator for a few minutes before it's time to cook.
When onions are cut open, they release amino acids, which mix with other compounds to make syn-propanethial-S-oxide, a volatile chemical.
Once this chemical is airborne, it can easily reach your eyes, irritating the delicate tissue. Your tear ducts produce moisture to try and flush it out.
Cooling an onion in a refrigerator will slow the release of the enzymes in the onion juice and therefore slow down the creation of syn-propanethial-S-oxide.