Knife? Check. Cutting board? Check. Onion? Check. Spacesuit? Check. Avoiding tears when chopping onions is no easy task. But why does it make us cry, exactly? Let’s get scientific for a minute: When you cut an onion, enzymes in the skin of the onion come into contact with air and turn into an eye-irritating chemical. Your cornea has free nerve endings that are connected to your central nervous system. When that chemical hits those free nerve endings, your central nervous system responds to that burning sensation by producing tears.
Thankfully, there are ways to remedy this situation, but not every solution works for everyone. Finding what works best for you might take some experimentation, but we’ve gathered all the best tips to keep those tears at bay when cooking with onions. And no, you won’t actually need a spacesuit.