Helpful Onion Preparation Tips & Tricks
Peeling and Cutting Onions
Cut a ½-inch off the neck end of the onion, but leave the root end intact. Peel off the outer layers of the onion until all the thin, papery layers are removed. If the outer skin is very thin, peel the onion under warm running water to make the skin easier to remove.
The easiest way to create an onion bloom is with an onion bloom cutter. These can be purchased in household departments at most retail stores. If you do not have an onion bloom cutter, follow the instructions below using a sharp knife.
First, cut 1/2-inch off the top and peel the onion. Slightly trim the root end, but do not cut into the root base. Place the onion on its root end and slice downwards to cut into quarters, making sure to stop within 1/2-inch of the root base each time. Do not cut through the root base.
Next, place the onion on its neck end. Insert the knife 1/2-inch below the root base and slice downward, cutting each section into 4 to 6 more sections. Turn the onion back over and gently pull the petals open, leaving the core intact. If the onion petals do not open correctly, cut deeper into the onion’s outer layers, angling the knife deeper on the outer layers. The core should remain intact while cooking, but should be removed before serving to allow petals to become individual units.
Place a peeled onion on its side and slice downwards. The thickness of slices can vary. For onion rings, cut the desired thickness and carefully separate each slice into individual rings. If the slices are difficult to separate, hold them under very warm water; the layers will become more pliable and easier to separate. Save the centers of the rings for dicing or mincing.
Place a peeled onion on its side and cut the onion lengthwise, stopping at the center. (This allows the onion rings to become strings.) Using an electric slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the onion very thin. For an appetizer or topping, coat with flour and seasonings and then fry.
Place a peeled onion on its bottom and cut the onion in half from neck to root. Cut each half in half again. Repeat until desired size is achieved. The root plate will hold the wedge together as one unit.
Diced & Chopped Onions
Cut a peeled onion into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices. Stack three or four slices in a pile, keeping the larger slices on the bottom. Cut onion pile into 1/4-inch strips in one direction. Keeping onion strips in a pile, cut strips in the opposite direction to create chopped onions.
Or place a peeled onion on its root end. Make six to eight cuts across the exposed face, cutting towards the root end but stopping three quarters of the way through the onion. Do not cut through the root base of the onion. Then cut the onion in the opposite direction, creating a checkerboard pattern. Turn the onion on its side and slice to create small diced onions.
Follow instructions for diced/chopped onions. Continue cutting diced onion pieces into smaller portions to create minced onions.
How to Avoid Crying
Biochemists have spent years studying why onions make us cry. To date, they’ve determined that once an onion cell is pierced, a series of rapid chemical reactions take place. The reactions release sulfur, which irritates our eyes.
To help stop tears, chill an onion 30 minutes before peeling. Start cutting the onion from the neck first and use a stainless steel knife (not iron). The onion will be stronger flavored at the root end. Cut onions can be placed in sealable plastic bags and kept in the refrigerator for several days.