Dry Your Eyes Mate
This week the nation celebrated that we are officially less than 70 days away from June 22nd or National Onion Ring Day! So in honor of the wondrous day approaching, let’s talk about what makes onions unique! Donkey, do you have any ideas?
True, but that’s not exclusive to onions. #amirightbroccoli?!
Ehhh, not quite.
Yes, sir! Right on the money! But as you are preparing your special onion dishes to impress your friends, you will probably tear up (read: sob uncontrollably) while cutting and think, “Why the heck does this even happen?”
Onions are in the same vegetable family as shallots, leeks, and garlic. While these homies are chillin' in the ground, they pick up nutrients from the dirt. One of the elements they are particularly good at absorbing is sulfur. When you start chopping your onions into oblivion for onion rings, salsa, or chili, you break down the cell structure in the onion. When that happens, you allow different chemicals in the onion to mix freely with each other. After those onion chemicals get bizzay, they create a compound called propanethiol s-oxide. This chemical can easily become airborne and float up to your eyeballs. Your eyes see this chemical as threat and begin producing tears. But they aren’t emotional break-up-cat-just-died tears...
or basal tears that are there to lubricate and nourish your eyes.
These are special reflex tears that protect the eyes from wind, smoke, and other irritants. When the chemical make up of these tears mixes with our good friend propanethiol s-oxide, they react together and create sulfuric acid! Ya know, the one in batteries! So your eye is like, “Shoot! We need more tears!” and the cycle continues until you finish chopping. No worries though, it’s in small enough concentrations to not hurt your eyes.
So as you continue your preparations for the most wonderful time of the year, just remember to put on some goggles if you really don’t want this