This week's tip is a real tear jerker. Were talking onion tears. Yes, I am a crier when it comes to chopping onions. It never fails, streams of tears coming down my face like I have just watched the Notebook just because I needed that 1/2 cup of onion for my dinner tonight. My husband is the only person I know that never (I'm talking NEVER) has teared up cutting onions before. Amazing if you ask me. He has officially become my onion chopper when he is around to do it.
Is there help for the rest of us? Well, a little. I while ago there was a show on Food Network and they tested tons of trusted "no cry onion" tricks out on a few lucky folks. Nothing really seemed to work that well except for freezing your onion ahead of time and then chopping it when it is very cold.
Here is what I do to alleviate some of the tears. When I know I need onion for a recipe. I throw at least two onions no matter what my recipe calls for into the freezer for about an hour (this step can be skipped, you will just be tearing up more). When nice and cold, I slice the ends off the onion first. Then cut in half. Peel both halves of onion. Lay both pieces cut side down on cutting board. Either chop half moon slices or dice as you normally would as quickly and safely as possible.
After I have my onion(s) all chopped up, I separate out what my recipe calls for and I store the remains in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for the rest of the week. Now I have already diced onion ready to go with no tears necessary. I do tear up the one time (unless my husband is home to chop for me), but at least I get a few dishes out of it instead of tearing up every night I need to use onion (which is a lot of nights for us). I have never had an onion go bad in the refrigerator, but I have never had it hanging around for more than a few days at a time.
If you don't use onion that often, consider freezing your chopped onion in a ice cube tray or lay it out in a single layer flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then freeze them up for a few hours and place the frozen cubes or the loose chopped onion into a freezer safe bag or container. When you need onion just grab what you need and place it right in your cooking pan. Voila! This method also works with any kind of onion, shallots, garlic, leeks, peppers. Do the work once and get a lot of meals out of it.
It's the small things on a busy night that make your life that much easier. No tears, no mess, done!