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If you wonder why you always get teary-eyed while chopping onions, it is due to the sulfur that they contain. Sulfur combines with enzymes to form irritating sulfuric acid. This sounds like it would make onions a food to avoid, but sulfur is actually beneficial to our health. This ingredient appears to block the cancer-causing potential of some carcinogens as well as ease inflammation due to allergies.
Since we can't take sulfur out of onions to stop the tears, here is something that might help. Before preparing the onion, chill them for 30 minutes. While using a sharp knife try not to cut close to the root end opposite the stem since this area contains the highest concentration of suflur.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|