I searched for "chopping onions without crying" and got approximately 183 bajillion different results. There are so many myths and legends about this subject, every one of them claiming "this one REALLY works!" I obviously HAD to know which ones worked and which ones are just internet myths spread around for the sole purpose of making you look like an idiot.
I tested out 10 different theories. To control the experiment, I used the same cutting board and knife for each onion. I bought a bag of small yellow onions, and figured since they were in the same bag, they would be of similar origin and flavor. I diced the onion the same way each time. I made sure to open the window, wash the cutting board and knife, and then leave the kitchen for at least 5 minutes between tests. I only chopped 3 onions per day, so my eyes wouldn't cry too much.
1.) LIGHT A CANDLE:
By the time I was finished chopping, my right eye was burning a bit, but much less than usual, and I never shed a tear. Good result for the first one.
2.) CHEW GUM:
I still cried, but it was less than usual. I cried, but only a tear or two, and for some reason, it was only one eye.
3.) TURN ON KITCHEN VENT:
This one worked better than I thought it would, it was about the same result as the candle.
4.) HOLD A PIECE OF BREAD IN YOUR MOUTH:
This one is, by far, the most effective yet. No burning in my eyes at all. It does waste a piece of bread, and make you look like and idiot, though. But it's worth it.
5.) HOLD A METAL SPOON IN YOUR MOUTH:
NOPE! Did not help. I cried like I was watching Les Mis! (that movie makes me cry every time. The SOUNDTRACK even makes me cry. But it still might be my favorite movie musical of all time.) I then tried sticking my head in the freezer, which soothed my poor, sad, oniony eyes. That's a good trick to have if you do end up crying.
6.) PUT ONION IN FREEZER:
I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes. It was pretty effective. My eyes burned a little, but no tears. Not as good as the bread, but about the same as the candle.
This one shocked me! I was not expecting it to work so well. I was completely blown away. It worked just as well as the bread! I used about a teaspoon on Bragg's apple cider vinegar. I poured it onto the cutting board, rubbed it around with my fingertips and then rubbed some of the excess vinegar on the knife. WOW!
8.) CLOSE YOUR MOUTH:
Made no difference than cutting it normally. My head went straight into the freezer after this one, too.
9.) PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR:
I could not find any sunglasses, swimming goggles, motorcycle helmets or gas masks for this one, so I wore my husband's reading glasses. I had a tough time seeing, but I didn't cry. My eyes did burn a bit, though. I'm sure big movie star style sunglasses or a pair of swimming goggles would be more effective but I didn't have that, so I improvised.
10.) REFRIGERATE THE ONION:
This one worked fairly well. It was not as effective as some other methods, but was about the level of irritation as putting the onion in the freezer or lighting a candle.
DON'T FORM AN EMOTIONAL BOND:
I tried this one and I just couldn't do it. Those onions were just too cute and innocent. WHY DID THEY HAVE TO DIEEEE? THEY WERE SO YOUNG!!! Maybe this is not the solution for me. If you have a cold black heart, please feel free to test this one out and get back to me.
There were a few that I found I could not test, for various reasons. I did not have scuba gear or a large body of water nearby, so I could not chop the onion underwater. I also did not have any matches, nor did I want to lose an eyebrow, so holding a lit match in my teeth was out, too.
It's a tie between holding a slice of bread in your mouth rubbing the cutting board and knife with vinegar. Holding a piece of bread in your mouth is neither tasty, nor convenient, but it is the most effective. Rubbing vinegar on the cutting board and knife is a close second. The only problem with that one is the slight vinegar flavor if you're eating the onions raw. It works like a charm, though, and the vinegar flavor cooks out almost immediately.
Holding a spoon in your mouth and keeping your mouth closed.
Everything else would be ok in a pinch, if you didn't have bread or vinegar. They reduced the onion irritation (some more than others) but did not completely eliminate it.
Soon I'll post a recipe on what I did with all those onions. Stay tuned!