Stuff I've Googled, what I Googled a few minutes ago, what I'm Googling now, why I'm Googling, and other fascinating information.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why do onions make you cry?


Search
: onions cry

Why: Last night while Chandler was stirring us some fry:
ME: Do onions not hurt your eyes?
HIM: Sometimes, but I cut the thing out.
ME: What thing?
HIM: The thing that makes your eyes water.
ME: Oh, I thought it was an enzyme. Anyway, mine are hurting bad.
HIM: Huh, they shouldn't.
ME: I don't know. I'm way over here.
They might still hurt. That or I'm supes tired.

Answer: Enzymes! Vindicated!
When you cut an onion, you break cells, releasing their contents. Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward 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.
FYI, you have 2 types of tears coming out of your face: basal (which lubricate your eyes) and reflexive (which are triggered when irritants like dust, smoke, and onion fumes touch the lachrymal glands in your iLidz).

Source: Chemistry.About.com, HowStuffWorks,

The More You Know: There are a few ways to prevent your weeping:
  • Get a tearless onion
  • Wear goggles while you cut
  • Run a fan
  • Refrigerate the onion before cutting to slow the chemical reactions
  • Cut the onion under water
  • Cook it (like into an Awesome Blossom [only 2,170 calories!])
Also, there is a gay romance novel named The Happy Onion, in case you are into that sort of thing.

4 comments:

chandicapped said...

Vindicated? Ha! Just because you found a website that agrees with you? That's the same reason my mom thinks Obama was born in Kenya.

Well two can play at that game! Read 'em and tear up:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/411116/cut_an_onion_without_crying/

http://www.gardenwife.com/how-to-cut-onions-without-tears

http://www.ehow.com/how_2260676_cut-onion-tears.html

Even Gordon Ramsay agrees with me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwGBt3V0yvc&feature=related

Now please stop telling everyone Obama is a Muslim!

joel said...

now i dont know what to believe.

Carly said...

Well Joel, let me recount a recent conversation for you:

(my eyes sting)
ME: Did you just cut an onion?
HIM: No.

20 minutes later.

ME: What's on that?
HIM: Um tomatoes, garlic, onions...

Durr. That thing doesn't do s-h-i-t!

Steve G. said...

Onions totally can make your eyes sting. Also, onion and garlic diffuses in your blood stream when you eat them, which is why brushing your teeth and chewing gum only temporarily gets rid of the smell.

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