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No More Tears This Thanksgiving: Here’s How to Chop Onions Without Crying

There will be many creative ways of celebrating Thanksgiving 2020, whether it will be a gathering virtually with your family via Zoom or a small dinner with only your household family members. The menu will still include the Thanksgiving favorite dishes and recipes that include onions.

Onions add depth and sweetness to savory dishes, but the same compounds that make them so flavorful can also bring you to tears.

Did you know that onions are rich in sulfur? When you chop an onion, you are releasing sulfurous compounds and enzymes into the air. Mixed, they form an eye-irritating gas. Your eyes react to this gas by producing tears.

Tears can help wash away these irritants, but they also blur your vision — and that is dangerous when you’re handling a large, sharp knife.  Prosperously, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has a few steps you can adapt to clear the air.

STEP 1 – Keep your kitchen breezy

Open the windows, turn on the fan above your stove or use the overhead kitchen hood while you work. The breeze will help sweep away the eye-irritating mist that rises from chopped onions.

STEP 2 – Chill onions before chopping

Onions’ irritating compounds waft most efficiently through the warm air. Chill onions in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before chopping to keep these compounds from rising toward your eyes. 

STEP 3 – Have you heard of onion goggles?

Yes, onion goggles exist! And for many people, they work quite well. Find them in specialty cooking shops and home stores.

It’s an honor to have such wonderful patients! Hang on to your Thanksgiving traditions safely this year and don’t forget to reflect on what you are thankful for. 

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