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cutting-onions-msg – 1/4/04


Techniques for cutting onions.


NOTE: See also the files: onions-msg, garlic-msg, leeks-msg, onion-soups-msg, Run-a-Feast-art, headcooks-msg, cooks-clothng-msg, vegetables-msg, root-veg-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that

I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some

messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.

These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of editing. Messages having to do  with

seperate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes

extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were

removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I

make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the

individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and efforts of  those who have written  these

messages. The  copyright status of these messages  is  unclear  at this

time. If  information  is published  from  these  messages, please give

credit to the orignator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

    mark.s.harris at motorola.com            stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 09:33:42 -0400

From: Jeff.Gedney at Dictaphone.com

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] peeling onions/inability to cut onions

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Must try that sometime... while we're on the subject, actually - I've gotten

> to the place where I'm almost completely unable to cut onions because they

> make my eyes water so badly - and I've tried all the running water/glass of

> water on the counter/etc tricks anyone I know could tell me.  I'm getting

> desperate, because having to break out the Cuisinart just to make dinner is

> a bit... much.  Help? :-)


from much experience:


1) you need a VERY SHARP, UNSERRATED knife.

      the less you damage the individual cell walls the less the defensive

chemicals in the onion will mix with the air to make you cry.

      a dull knife crushes it's way through the onion,

      Serrated knives are almost as bad as a dull knife, they SAW through

the onion causing the same effect.


      A very sharp conventional knife will give you the least cry for your

onion dollar. If you cant sharpen your own knives for soem reason, buy one

you will use just for onions, and have it commercially sharpened ( look in

the yellow pages under cutlery ) keep that one set aside fir onions. use a

plastic or good wood board and do not "CHOP" but allow the knife to do the

cutting. Use a slicing action.


2) a cold onion is better than warm (do not allow your onions to freeze,

freezing disrupts cell walls and practically guarantees that your onion

will bleed cry juice all over).


3) work near a fan or open window. plenty of ventilation helps.

      getting a small battery powered fan to blow across the board helps

disperse the chemicals faster.


4) DONT TOUCH YOUR FACE OR EYES, even with the back of your hand, you

are just bringing the juice on your fingers closer to your eyes!


5) If you have a LOT of onions to cut, you will find that if you just let

nature take it's course your eyes will accomodate roughly the same way

they accustom to chlorinated pool water.

      but they will tear up again when you are no longer working with

them, as they readjust the chemical balance.



Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 08:48:36 -0500

From: "Leah A. Montgomery" <mog_bane at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] peeling onions

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


> Can anyone tell me the best way to peel an onion? How much should be

> removed? Is there an easy way?




> Stefan


Here is my favorite way of cutting onions. I have worked in restaurants for

many years and that's where I learned it. Cut the top and the bottom off of

your onion. Cut the onion in half, this makes it ten times easier to peel.

It's perfectly fine to remove the first layer of "real" onion, usually it

makes it a quicker job, and the waste isn't that bad. Most people don't want

to mess with the extra time it takes to peel off only the husk, or brown

part, especially if they've got 20 or more pounds that they are cutting. Lay

down one half of the onion, wide cut side down. Cut it against the grain,

from cut end to cut end, as thin as you will want the final pieces to be.

Then cut with the grain as thin as you want the final pieces to be. For

strips, just cut with the grain. Easy and simple!


Leah A. Montgomery

SCA: Safia bint Wahib al Marakeshi called Samira

Head of Byat Al Viola Hirrar

Bryn Gwlad, Ansteorra (Austin, TX)



Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 10:29:05 -0500

From: "Mercedes/Stephanie" <steldr at cox.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] peeling onions/inability to cut onions

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


I've found that a lit candle near the cutting board can help.





Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2003 11:43:12 -0400

From: AEllin Olafs dotter <aellin at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] peeling onions

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Sue Clemenger wrote:

> I've never done anything with pearl onions, but maybe you could blanch

> them, briefly, using the same method one does for getting skins off

> tomatoes and peaches (i.e., a brief bath in boiling water, and then

> plunge into cold?)

> --maire


This is the way the canning books suggest you handle them for pickling.

I've done it, and it works pretty well. They do get slippery, though...



This is also the way, Jadwiga, that what's his name did the garlic,

remember?  and it did indeed move faster. Not worth it unless you are

doing bulk, but for a lot, it does seem to speed things up.





Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2003 11:57:37 -0400

From: "Jeanne" <jeanne at atasteofcreole.com>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] peeling onions/inability to cut onions

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


We've always major hacked them under running water or held the old sulfur

matches between our teeth or light a candle.  By an open breeze also



Candle is best, the flame sucks in the noxious gases so you don't get to

experience them fully!




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org