chopping onions

 A big factor in the quality of your meal is how small or large your chopped vegetables will be.  Mind you, onions for example, are fine even if they are cut larger in your meals. However, if you can dice them up into smaller pieces, it makes all the difference.  For myself, I prefer to use the food processor, and get it done quickly.

When you have vegetables to prepare for a meal, like you will this week for making soup, you are going to have to take time to chop them up. If you have a food processor, use that to chop them up safely and efficiently.  Some may prefer to do them with a knife.


How to chop an onion

There are very few recipes which don’t call for a chopped or minced onion.  Most everyone has onions on hand.  If you do not, you can use dried, minced, chopped, or powdered onions when you are in a pinch.  Remember, when a recipe calls for 1 whole chopped onion, don’t put the equivalent of dried in the recipe.  It is dried and compacted, thus you don’t need as much.

When a recipe calls for 1 medium onion use the following:

  • 1 Tablespoon of onion powder
  • 4 Tablespoon of dried chopped onions


Instructions for chopping an onion:

Get out your cutting board to prevent damage to your counter tops.  If you don’t own a cutting board do this on a plate, baking pan, or something so that your counters do not get ruined. 

  • To slice an onion, cut it in half, through the root. Peel off the papery skin .
  • Place each half cut side down and slice the onion lengthwise in parallel cuts. The smaller the cuts, the finer your onions will be. Be extremely careful when cutting as the knife can slip and nick your fingers. Try and hold the onion so that it stays in place instead of falling apart after cutting it.  This will make it easier to make the cuts the other direction.
  • Now cut the onion in the other direction, making a cross cut on the onion to make small little dices. If your onion has already falling apart, it is okay this takes practice. Just let them fall and individually use your knife to chop across the strips of onion.   

Chopping onions can make me cry?

If you have never experience “crying” while chopping onions before, you might be in for a surprise.  When you cut an onion, you break cells, releasing their contents. Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a 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, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away  The same is true for garlic, and hot peppers.  In order to avoid this, you can wear goggles or turn on a fan while cutting, but this is not usually convenient.  You can put them  into the refrigerator, or cut them under cool water as this slows down the chemical reaction.