Depending on the variety, an onion can be sharp, pungent, sour, pungent, mild, or sweet. They are commonly used as a base for curries, or made into a paste and eaten as a main course or as a side dish. Unfortunately, after chopping onions, you may find that you still have the smell of them on your hands for many hours afterwards. As delicious as onions are, walking around smelling like them is another story.
The onion smell is pungent and irritating long after the delicious meal is over. It clings to the fingers and the nail region with ferocity. It even affects your breath! In fact, onions have a very strong odor, because onion oil contains 1-propenyl sulfenic acid, which is believed to be the tear agent in onions. Lachrymator is something that makes your eyes water and gives onions such a distinctive smell.
Interestingly, this pungent, pungent chemical is also the cause of the great flavor of onions, as well as the satisfying fragrance when you fry the vegetable. You’ll also get sulfenic acids from chopping garlic, chives, and leeks, but they don’t form the same irritating gas, just a strong odor.
Who has the cure? Should fingers smell like onions after chopping? Should your breath smell so bad after eating this smelly vegetable? This article may have all the answers you are looking for.
Onion odor removal
* Wear gloves. That will keep the onion smell off your hands.
* Peeling the onion and then chilling it in the refrigerator before cutting will minimize the gas release somewhat, because the change in temperature alters the compounds in the onion. Cooking an onion before cutting it will also work for the same reason. Another easy solution is to cut the onion under water or run the faucet over it while you slice it.
* Rub your hands against the stainless steel metal (a kitchen sink works well) under cold running water for about a minute; rubbing with a large metal spoon also works. It is also possible to purchase vegetable-shaped or oval-shaped stainless steel “soaps” that can be permanently placed in the kitchen sink. They don’t cost much and they really work. Look in the kitchen supply section of a local store.
The science behind this phenomenon lies in the theory that the sulfuric odor from the onion would be attracted to and bind to one or more of the metals in the stainless steel. After all, the formation of such compounds is what makes stainless steel stainless.
Onions and garlic contain amino acid sulfoxides, which form sulfenic acids, which then form a volatile gas (propanethiol oxide S), which forms sulfuric acid on exposure to water. These sulfuric compounds are responsible for the onions burning your eyes when you cut them and also for the characteristic smell of garlic.
* If you don’t have steel handy, you can make a paste of baking soda (baking soda) and water and rub it on your hands, then wash it off. The smell will go away with the soda.
* Squeeze toothpaste or a small amount of mouthwash into your palm, then rub your hands together. Rinse with water.
* Squeeze the juice from the lemons in a bowl. Soak your hands for 3 minutes, then rinse. Your hands will smell like fresh lemons instead of onions!
* Good-Bye Smell is a professional foaming cleanser developed by a doctor-chef that totally removes food odors (fish, garlic, onion, etc.) from hands and under nails, while providing a feeling of freshness clean and smooth. Fast-acting and economical, it does not contain alcohol and can be used in professional kitchen facilities and restaurants, as well as in home kitchens and outdoor cooking.
This product is gentle enough for frequent use and won’t dry out your hands. Simply pump foam onto dry hands, rub briskly, even under fingernails, until foam disappears, then rinse. Repeat if necessary.
* Be sure to use cold water for most of your rinse; when you wash your hands with warm water, it opens the pores of your hands and traps the onion smell.
*Use warm water only when washing with table salt, tomato juice, or similar cleansers, as these dissolve faster in hot liquids and remove odor from pores.
* You can also put a tablespoon or more of table salt every day in the palm of your hands. Wash your hands vigorously with lukewarm water. Rinse and dry.
* Soak your hands in tomato juice for at least five minutes. Then rinse them with liquid detergent in warm water. Make sure the tomato juice you’re going to use to get rid of the onion smell hasn’t reached its expiration date before you get your hands on it. Canned or cold tomato juice will work for this solution.
Onion breath removal
* Bacterial-induced onion breath can be reduced with regular oral hygiene methods. Standard remedies for halitosis include regular use of mouthwash, brushing and flossing, and tongue scraping.
* There are also commercial remedies for bad breath that are more powerful than the usual mouthwashes that can be bought in supermarkets. These are available through your doctor, your pharmacist, or on the Internet.
* Another method to reduce onion breath is to eat parsley with food. This seems to counteract the problem to some extent (as does the onion’s much more powerful cousin, garlic), though it doesn’t prevent it entirely.
* Some people also claim that chewing cardamom seeds has a parsley-like effect and can work as an onion breath remedy. Cardamom has a very strong flavor, so this might not be an option for some people.
Why does the smell of onions make people cry?
As any chef knows, cooking an onion produces a very strong aroma that most people enjoy, but cutting an onion stings your eyes and makes you cry uncontrollably. If you love to include onions in your dishes, you are probably often frustrated by this. So what is it about onions that makes them so difficult to prepare?
Oddly enough, the volatile compound that makes you cry is also responsible for the great taste of onions. When you cut an onion, you break several onion cells. Some of these cells have enzymes inside them, and when they are cut, the enzymes leak out. The enzymes then break down some of the other substances that have escaped from the cut cells. Some of these substances, such as amino acid sulfoxides, form sulfenic acids which then rapidly rearrange into a volatile gas.
The gas reaches your eyes and reacts with the water that keeps them moist. This changes the form of the chemical again, producing, among other things, a mild sulfuric acid that irritates the eyes. The nerve endings in the eyes are very sensitive and detect this irritation. That’s why your eyes sting when you cut onions.
The brain reacts by telling your tear ducts to produce more water to dilute the irritating acid and protect your eyes. Your other reaction will probably be rubbing your eyes, but this will actually make the irritation much worse, especially if you have onion juice all over your hands.