– Learn to chop and slice an onion in this quick video. –
How to chop and slice an onion is a question I get more than I would have originally thought. Like a lot more. (It’s up there with another surprise question, if you can freeze vegetables.) To the point that I almost named this newsletter “How to Chop an Onion,” because so many people ask me about it.
Chopping an onion isn’t particularly hard, but doing it the right way is a mystery for a lot of folks. Maybe it’s because sitting and pondering your technique over a partially chopped onion in the worst thing ever, lest you literally end up in tears, then running your eyes under the tap like you’ve just been in an industrial chemical accident.
Learning how to chop an onion isn’t something I can really explain via text, so I went ahead and created a handy dandy little video for you titled, “How to Chop and Slice an Onion.” This is the very first video I’ve ever produced for Fearless Fresh, so be sure to click the thumbs up icon on YouTube and help make my new channel look a little more lived in!
How to chop and slice an onion: tips
Here are a few important tips you need for chopping and slicing onions:
- Your knife needs to have a straight edge (use an 8-inch chef’s knife, not a serrated knife with saw teeth) and it needs to be really sharp. Dull knives tear the fragile cell walls within the onion, and guess what happens when those cells burst open and release their crazy contents? Let’s just say I hope you’re wearing waterproof mascara.
- Secure your cutting board to make sure it doesn’t slip around the counter, which is a quick and easy way to lose control and cut yourself. You can do this with a piece of non-slip shelf liner, or with a damp paper towel that’s been folded in half.
- Onions can be slippery little buggers, so make sure you’re watching where both your knife and your fingers are going. Move slowly when you’re first learning how to chop an onion, so in case the knife slips on a loose onion layer, you’ll have time to move your hand before the knife claims a knuckle or fingertip.
- Tired of your hands smelling like onions/garlic/fish/etc? This weird little $7 item looks like a metal bar of soap, and it actually gets the smell off your hands. I have no idea why, but it works.
If you’re sensitive to onions and cry when you chop them, here’s my best advice on how to stop the waterworks:
- Cold onions are less likely to make you cry than room temp onions. Cold temperatures help to contain the volatile compounds that make your eyes tear up, so I’ve even gone so far as to stick my onion in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting them up. Set a timer, though, because once it’s frozen, not even a nuclear bomb will make a mark on that thing.
- Try moving your cutting board near the fan in your oven hood. Seriously, this is my magic trick for not bawling my eyes out every time I have to chop an onion. Long before I even think about flipping on the burners on my stove, I set my cutting board on the range top, turn on the fan, and chop away. The fan will suck up any offending onion compounds and keep your eyes from flushing out every ounce of moisture in your body.
- Old onions are also more likely to make you cry, especially if they’ve been sitting at room temp. This is because their cell structure has been breaking down slowly while they languish in your pantry or cupboard, making the cells super prone to rupture. (See #1, above.)
- Those onion glasses you see all over the internet? The ones that supposedly seal your eyes away from onion gases? They don’t work.
- If you wear contacts, well, you’re probably immune to the tear-jerking effects of onions. Aren’t you special?
And that’s it! Now, here’s a question for you: What do you have a hard time chopping? I want to do more knife skills videos, so give me ideas on what you need help with!