Here are tips to minimize eye irritation while chopping onions. Below is a link to ‘how to chop onions.’
First, don’t let the onion weep ….
> Use a sharp knife – the more blunt cuts the more damage you’ll do to the cell walls causing more weep-age.
> Refrigerate the onions – cold onions have a stronger cell wall, thus it will weep less when it’s cut.
> Soak the onions in an ice bath – this will allow the outer skins to be removed more easily, and see tip just above.
Second, you want to protect yourself …
> Remove the cut onion and any debris off of – and away from – the cutting board. Keep it at somewhat of a distance from your immediate area, and put the cut side down.
> Be in a well ventilated and open space and/or have a fan pointed at you, and/or – as I did for our housemate, Dan, the other night (when he was chopping shallots for a second round of Chicken Piccata) I grabbed a dinner plate and waved it vigorously … fanning it … forcing the vapors away from his face. He smiled very appreciatively.
> Wear contact lenses – In my chef class at Bauman College it was quite evident that those who wore contacts were not affected by the onion vapors. I can attest to this, too, it works!
Here’s a good step by step description: