Saturday, 18 April 2015

How to peel and chop onions without your eyes stinging | Kukskitchen

How to peel and chop onions without your eyes stinging | Kukskitchen

Have trouble peeling and chopping onions? Those tears and stingy eyes interfereing with your knife skills? 

I have a trick that turns stingy onions into a friendly vegetable. Microwave whole onions and viola the skin peels off like a pillow case and chopping causes no tears.

What to do?

Microwave at fullpower for 20-30 sec depending on how big your onion is.

Why do onions make your eyes sting? - the chemistry behind the burning sensation.

When you cut Allium vegetables like an onion, you break its cells, releasing their contents. The volatile oils that help to give Allium vegetables their distinctive flavors contain a class of organic molecules known as amino acid sulfoxides. Peeling, cutting or crushing an onion's tissue releases enzymes called allinases, which convert these molecules to sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce syn-propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward towards your eyes.  Free nerve endings detect syn-propanethial-S-oxide on the cornea and drive activity in the ciliary nerve--which the central nervous system interprets as a burning sensation--in proportion to the compound's concentration. This nerve activity reflexively activates the autonomic fibers, which then carry a signal back to the eye ordering the lachrymal glands to wash the irritant away. Eyes naturally have tears in them forming a film infront of the eye protecting them. This gas also reacts with the water in your eyes to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.  The formation of syn-propanethial-S-oxide peaks at about 30 seconds after mechanical damage to the onion and completes its cycle of chemical evolution over about five minutes.

How does it help?

Microwaving / Cooking the onion denatures the enzymes. Also, the moisure evaporates shrinking the onion ever so slightly helping it to shell out from its skin.

{Just like the water loss during the first few days of dieting, making you fit in to your jeans better ;) }

If you found this post useful, I would really love for you to pin it or share it with your Facebook fans or Twitter followers or Google+ circles please using the buttons below and keep me motivated.

Thank you xx

Sherin Deepu


  1. Thanks for the tip and handy information! Pinned, too. :)

    1. Thank you dear. Did you get to try out this tip? Please share your experience.



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 I'm Sherin, aka kukku. 

An excited mum, a  responsible doctor , a friend's friend , a thankful daughter, a thankful sister and a passionate singer,  an enthusiastic cook, food writer and food photographer . That's me in a nut shell.

A doctor in my day job and a food writer and food photographer by night. I came in to cooking because of the people around me, be it the women in family who are amazing cooks or the men who luv to eat. My son is my best critic. :) Started cooking while I was at school, my first attempt being a sweetie, no surprise there for people who know me. I got interested in cooking more after marriage, as most girls do. My experiments with food blossomed after coming to the UK, where the grocery stores opened up a variety of foodie opportunities for my hungry tum.

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