Having to chop onions for any recipe is arguably the worst part of cooking or making any meal. Ironically, chopping onions is also usually the first step in preparing any meal. Whether you are making a nice salsa, a thick soup, or even a hearty pot roast, you need onions for their flavor.
Today we’re going to talk about how to chop onions in your Vitamix blender, and other great strategies for reducing tears while chopping onions.
Onions are great for countless reasons. They are extremely versatile, they are high in fiber and phytochemicals, and they offer lots of health benefits. In fact, it is recommended that you consume at least ¼ cup of onions a day for their remarkable health benefits.
So then why does something so good bring tears to our eyes? The moment you slice into the skin of an onion, your eyes start to burn and tingle, and soon the tears start flowing. This is an unfortunate side effect of cooking with onions, but it can be avoided, especially if you have a Vitamix blender.
You see, when you chop onions, they release a specific chemical known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which stimulates your eyes and makes you cry. Rather than ever deal with this nightmare again in your own kitchen, today you will learn how to dramatically minimize crying while cutting onions.
Chopping Onions in Vitamix Blenders
If you own a Vitamix blender, you already know it has infinite uses. Making smoothies, blending ice cream, processing foods, and preparing ingredients for baking – Vitamix blenders do it all. And one of the best things you can do with your Vitamix blender, besides for making your own almond milk or tomato soup, is cutting onions.
Cutting onions in your blender will drastically reduce how many tears you shed in the process. The best part of doing this is that the onions are kept inside of the blender container, and so their excreted chemicals can’t reach your eyes and make you cry.
It is also much easier to chop onions in your Vitamix blender than to do it by hand. You don’t risk cutting your thumb off, and you don’t make a mess on your counter. All you need is to peel the skin off the onion, cut it quickly into small quarters, then place the quarters inside your blender.
Once the quarters are inside your blender, hit the pulse button and watch the pieces of onion jump around inside your blender while they are gradually chopped into smaller pieces. You can continue to pulse the onion until you are 100% satisfied with the texture and the sizes of the pieces.
It may be worth investing in a smaller container to make quicker work of chopping onions. You can definitely do it in a large container, but it will take a little more time. The other bonus by using this method is that you can chop many onions at the same time. Simply chop all your onions into quarters and then throw all the pieces in your powerful Vitamix blender.
Cutting Onions without Crying
As we have discussed, cutting onions is the worst. Crying sucks and nobody wants their cooking time ruined with tears. Other than blending the onions in your Vitamix blender, there are a few methods for stemming the flow of tears while cutting onions.
One of the best ways is to chill the onion before you cut it. This requires an explanation of science. You see, molecules move quicker when they are warm, and molecules move slower when they are cold. This is why friction starts fires, and why freezing food preserves it, as the molecules can’t move when they are frozen.
To keep your eyes from crying, try chilling your onion in the refrigerator or in the freezer beforehand. You can do this a few minutes before, or you can do it the previous night. You can even keep a spare onion or two sitting in the freezer or in the refrigerator for times when you will be preparing a big meal.
Once you start cutting, the cold onion will have a difficult time producing its tear-inspiring chemicals. This will save your eyes a lot of trouble and make your cooking more comfortable.
This is a little similar to chilling your onion. If you don’t have the time or the patience for putting your onions in the refrigerator, try soaking them in a bath of cold water for just a few minutes. You can do this in the sink with a pot, or you can even rinse the onion thoroughly under the tap.
You will find that wet onions are much easier to work with since they don’t cause your eyes to water as much. This is a quick yet efficient strategy for cooking without crying.
Leave the Root
You can also leave the root on the onion to minimize your discomfort while cutting. This seems to be because there is a higher concentration of annoying chemicals that are released at the root. If you avoid taking it off, the onion will produce fewer chemicals. And of course, this will save your eyes. It’s definitely a popular method and doesn’t require any freezing or soaking at all.
Chop Near Flame
This one is a little weird, and a lot of people may not be comfortable with it. However, people all over the world, including Martha Stewart, agree that if you place your cutting board near a lit candle or any other type of flame, you won’t have any issues with tears flowing from your eyes. You will be able to cut your onion in total peace.
This is because fire sucks in air. If you have an open flame near where you’re cutting the onions, it basically prevents the nasty onion chemicals from reaching your eyes. Think of it like a mosquito catcher drawing all the chemicals into the flame so that they leave your eyes alone.