Let's start with the simple explanation of why onions irritate our eyes, and then you can decide for yourself as to whether or not these no-cry onion solutions (or myths) do work. The root and shoot of the onion -- known as the basal plate -- contains enzymes that are released when cut into. When these enzymes are mixed with water, they create a sulfuric acid, and it's that acid that irritates our eyes. The best way to avoid these annoying tears when chopping is to stop those acids from reaching our olfactory and tear duct nerves.
Some tips that we have come across are as simple as whistling a tune while you chop (apparently this helps to blow the gases away from your eyes) to the somewhat shady -- in terms of safety -- recommendation of cutting your onion while it is submerged in water.
This is our favorite suggestion:
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