In my last food-related post I mentioned I wrote about how cabbage smells bad when boiled for too long. I was doing a bit of reading about it before writing that post and found an article that said that cabbage is one of a family of plants that defends itself. Cabbage contains sulfur compounds that are released in the cooking process. The longer you cook it the worse the smell. Another member of this family is the onion. Onions are mean, they make me cry.
This is a description of what happens when you peel onions.
Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids as you slice into an onion. These enzymes which were isolated are now free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethial S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound gas which wafts upward and into your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.
All I know is that I find it extremely difficult to peel onions as my eyes get sore and watery. It was a kitchen chore I would always pass off to David who didn’t seem to be affected by it.
There are supposedly a few cures for it. Someone told me that eating dry bread would help. Well, I enjoyed the bread but I still cried.
Wearing safety goggles over my glasses had not occurred to me. I am not sure I’d do that if I had them I’d probably just forget until it was too late. I’ve also read that rubbing your hands on a stainless steel odour absorber can help.
Somehow I feel passing the onion chopping job to someone else is still a better idea. Or possibly just buying frozen onions. As it is I keep a box of tissues handy when I have to do this job.