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  • The Merge

Thanks to Science, We Now Have 'Tearless Onions'

Onions are a kitchen staple. If you've ever cooked, you know there's no avoiding them. There's also no avoiding the buckets of tears they bring every time you chop them.

You've probably heard of all sorts of tricks to prevent tears, like cutting onions underwater, soaking them in iced water or wearing swimming goggles, but let's be real—these hacks have their limits.

we now have tearless onions

So, when I read about these "tearless onions", I was intrigued and had to research more about them.

So the big question remained: do these "tearless onions" actually live up to their promise? Here's what I found

What are Tearless Onions?

The product, branded as "Sunions," claims to be America's first tearless and sweet onion. According to the brand's site, "Sunions, America’s first tearless and sweet onion, are a game-changer in the kitchen—no goggles or crazy hacks are needed to keep from crying."

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

It all boils down to a defence mechanism. Onions produce a chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. When you cut into an onion, it releases this compound, which then wafts up and stimulates a stinging sensation in your eyes, prompting tears.

Are Sunions Genetically Modified?

For those concerned about GMOs, here's some good news: Sunions are not genetically modified. Bayer Crop Science, the developer behind Sunions, states that these onions are the result of decades of crossbreeding milder varieties. This selective breeding has culminated in an onion that naturally contains less of the tear-inducing chemicals.

How Do Tearless Onions Work?

Sunions are developed through natural crossbreeding techniques, focusing on varieties that are less pungent and sweeter over time.

According to the company’s news release, breeders have been working on developing Sunions for three decades, and they are “certified tearless through testing by the Bayer Sensory Lab and Ohio State University Sensory Evaluation Center.”

The tear-causing volatile compounds in these onions decrease as they age. They have been rigorously tested and certified as tearless by the Bayer Sensory Lab and Ohio State University Sensory Evaluation Center.

Grown primarily in Nevada and Washington, Sunions are available from November to April, depending on the harvest and market supply.

Taste Test: Are Tearless Onions Too Good to Be True?

Tearless they may be, but what about taste? Sunions are exceptionally sweet—so much so that you could munch on them raw, like snacks, though that might seem odd to many. They're also gentler on those with heartburn issues, emitting hardly any odour unless you're up close.

However, they do have a downside. Their mildness translates into your cooking, potentially making dishes less flavorful than those prepared with regular onions. When caramelized, Sunions tend to be mushier and milder than traditional onions.

Verdict: Should You Switch to Tearless Onions?

If you dread the tearful ordeal of chopping onions and have tried all possible tricks to avoid it, Sunions might just be your new best friend in the kitchen. They offer a tear-free experience without sacrificing all the flavours—though they might be a bit too mild for those who love a strong onion taste.

So next time you're tearfully slicing through a regular onion, remember: there's a tearless option that could change the way you cook.


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