I came down with a mean virus this week and found myself watching Valerie Bertinelli’s Home Cooking—as one might at 11:30 a.m. with nothing better to do—when I learned she had more to offer viewers than some seriously indulgent recipes. The former soap star is truly a wealth of kitchen knowledge, and I am now forever changed by one of her cooking hacks.
Bertinelli, like many of us, is cursed with loving onions but tears up as soon as she begins chopping them. However, her co-host on Kids Baking Championship, Duff Goldman, taught her how to have tear-free onions, without having to buy a specific variety. (Side note: she also apparently makes homemade potato chips in her microwave, and I am amazed by what that woman can do.)
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Before chopping an onion, Bertinelli places it in her microwave for 30 seconds. She then gets right to chopping and lives happily ever after without shedding a tear. I wondered if I too could have the same blessed outcome, and decided to get out of bed for the first time all day to try this out for myself—and it actually worked!
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I popped the onion into the microwave as-is for 30 seconds, then began chopping with a slight sting in my eyes (but without any tears!) After further research, I learned peeling the onion first can help. Microwaving the onion didn’t alter the texture at all, it just made it slightly warmer.
According to an article by Food Network Canada, heating the onion prior to chopping destroys some of the sulphuric gas-producing enzymes, which are responsible for a seemingly emotional onion chopping experience. It’s also important to use a sharp knife to prevent further damage to the cell walls of the onion, and learn how to properly chop it for the best experience.
It was pretty miserable being sick, but I dare say it was worth it to learn this simple-yet-effective hack for no-cry onions. Valerie Bertinelli, I am forever in your debt.
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