MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - If you cook a lot, you’ll know the feeling after cutting up an onion when your eyes start to tear up.
Now there’s a type of onion created that doesn’t give you those annoying tears. One local chef in Midland agreed to try it out.
Chef Michael Olivas has been running his Exquisite Catering business for about six years.
“Cooking has been my passion. I’ve been in the food industry for 22 years,” said Olivas. “I love making people happy with my dishes that I’ve prepared. I like that gratification.”
We made our way to Olivas’ kitchen so he could test out the tearless onions.
“This is really working, I’m not getting teary-eyed,” said Olivas as he cut through layers of onions. “This is so cool, I brought my snowboarding goggles just in case but turns out I didn’t even need them.”
The onions are called Sunions, a sweet onion which is typically grown in Nevada and Washington. They’re not genetically modified, but they are grown through cross-breeding.
So what exactly is it about regular onions that gets our eyes watery?
“It erodes a defense mechanism,” said UTPB Associate Professor of Biology Doug Spence. “Your plants don’t want to get eaten. When you’ve got an onion and cut open an onion, it releases a chemical, these compounds contain a sulfur in them and sulfur is the irritating compound.”
That irritating compound comes from enzyme reactions, the sulfur compound is released in a process known as lachrymatory factor. The sulfur is the reason why your eyes tear up. But bring in the fun with the Sunion because you won’t need to wipe your eyes.
“They found an onion with a gene flaw, a mutation that failed to produce the right compound,” said Spence. “That means the irritating compound was not being produced.”
If you’d like to inquire about Exquisite Catering, head to their website by clicking here. Sunions are available at select HEB stores, Albertson’s and Sam’s Club. Click here to search for Sunions at a retailer near you.