WHY DO ONIONS MAKE YOU CRY?
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Unless you've spent your life avoiding how to cook - you know who you are - you've probably cut up an onion and experienced the burning tears you get from the onion vapors. Why does this happen? Well, this is a natural responce that the onion has evolved in order to protect itself from those humans and animals who are trying to eating.
So how does an onion make you cry?
When you slice into an onion, you cut through the tiny plant cells within it, breaking them open so that they release their contents. Unfortunately, when this happens amino acids with in onions cells oxidise to form sulfenic acids. Other enzymes that were once kept separate are now are freely able to mix with naturally occuring sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide. This is the volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns your eyeballs, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.
As the tears run down your cheeks, they take the stinging chemical away with them, making your eyes feel better again.
You may have heard of the Scoville Scale Rating which is used to measure the 'hotness' of a pepper. Well, there is something similar for onions. Called the Pyruvate Scale, it measures the pungency in onions and garlic. To avoid the worst of having onion acid in your eyes, avoid cutting into the basel root of the onion.
You can thank me later!
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