Why do we cry when cutting onions?

Anyone who has ever cut onions knows what happens then – our eyes start to water, we  cry ! But why is that?  As long as the onion sits uncut on the cutting board, there’s neither the flavor nor the tear factor. However, as soon as it is cut, substances escape from the cells of the onion, forming a gas that rises into the eyes. Each cell of an onion contains two connections. In the outer cell layer, it is a sulfur-containing  amino acid, the iso-alliin, inside the cell is the enzyme alliinase. When you cut the onion, the two substances come into contact and the enzyme breaks down the amino acid into separate parts. This creates the tear-triggering irritant. If it gets in your eyes, the flow of tears is immediately stimulated so that the substance is washed out of your eyes again.

How to remedy?

  • Cut the onion while sitting. Since the onion scent rises vertically, one does not cry when sitting.
  • Dip the peeled onion in cold water, cut in half, place the cut side on the board and cut both halves lengthways, starting at the top, and then into cubes crossways.

You can protect yourself against the smell of onions on your hands and kitchen boards by rinsing everything that comes into contact with the bulb – hands, knife, board – with cold water before and after cutting the onion. And the best way to get rid of the onion smell in your mouth is to eat some  parsley .

What use are the “hot” ingredients?

From a biological point of view, there is a reason for the “hot” ingredients in the onion: they were a protection of the onion against hungry attackers such as rats or voles, according to the scientists’ theory. The onion is also used therapeutically against colds and  fever  . This is where their medicinal properties come into play Wear: It has antibacterial, germicidal, anti-inflammatory, diuretic and analgesic effects.

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