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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Kitchen Tips - Onions

The onion. It's probably one of the most used ingredients in the American kitchen, and yet one of the most difficult to master. If only it didn't have that darned defense mechanism of making you cry.

Well, to be honest, I don't know if they make you cry, but I look as if I've watched the movie "Rudy" for the 5 millionth time after chopping up one of these bad boys.

I've tried all the tricks to keep from crying. I can't even remember all the things I've tried, and yet nothing has ever worked.

So, I thought I'd share today what works for me in chopping / dicing up onions. Maybe you'll find it works for you as well.

First, I cut of either end of the onion.

You will notice the onion "juice" seeping out. This is important to note because I have found that rinsing off the exposed edges where this milky white "juice" comes out can help in delaying the onset of the stinging and watering that will certainly ensue.

Quarter and peel the onion.

Now, rinse off the onion quarters.

I have many times tried to chop onions like the real chefs do, the way I learned in the few cooking classes I have taken. It has just never worked all that well for me. So, this is what I do.

First slice the quarters into relatively thin slices.

Then take the slices and chop. Notice the knife I'm using. I find that it works best when using a good chef's knife so that you can get the rocking up on the tip and back down motion.

Notice how I am gripping the back end of the knife itself and not just the handle. I find this gives me the most control and force on the knife.

If you're like me, at some point, you will have to eventually just set your knife down and step away for a moment and compose yourself while the air clears of the eye stinging molecules.

The end product...

And not even any finger tips in the mix. (I was actually a little nervous to demonstrate this for you guys today.)

(Oh, and by the way, the finger has healed nicely. It's pretty much back to normal. That is if you don't count the huge divot that was left.)

So that's what works for me when dicing onions and trying to keep from crying in the process. It doesn't keep the tears completely at bay, but my discomfort is much less now that I rinse off the exposed edges of the onion. Heck, maybe you'll find that this works for you as well. Or maybe you have your own onion tricks or tips. Please do share them when you leave a comment.

Thanks for coming by today and for more Works for Me posts, visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family.


Runningamuck said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll be sure and try rinsing next time I cut an onion. Like you, I've tried just about every trick in the book to no avail! =0)

Greg said...

Does it make me less of a cook if I cheat when I need to dice anything and use Pampered Chef's food chopper? Then, I don't have to touch the onion or whatever I'm cutting very much. And really, I'm ok with being "less than" if it means the items are mostly the same size, it's easy to clean up and I don't make a huge mess by accidentally cutting off my finger. Which I would totally do if you hadn't already done it. Now it's just not as exciting a prospect.

LovingLegacy said...

great tutorial - pretty pictures! your blog is adorable... i have been wanting to try the "bread in the mouth" trick from my mom-in-law...

mub said...

The -only- thing that's ever worked for me in regards to less tears while onion chopping is wearing contact lenses *L* Now that I'm back to glasses I have a handy dandy onion chopper that I absolutely LOVE!

Amy said...

Thank you! I am super sensitive to onions and start crying immediately...some other tricks I've tried and have worked to varying degrees of success (I truly believe everyone is different in their onion reactioness)...1. I keep a small jar candle in my kitchen, if I'm cutting an onion, I light it first, 2. if I can't light the candle, i'll grab a piece of bread, it absorbs the odors for some reason; and 3. if my candle isn't handy and i'm out of bread, I only cut one end off until i'm almost done....

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Forgot to tell you that your chopping demonstrations are freaking me out - LOL! Glad to know that no fingers were harmed in the making of this post!