Posts tagged ‘cut’

How to Chop Onions Without Crying

By Kyle Kurpinski

Plants, like all other living organisms, are composed of cells. When you eat a vegetable, or chop it with a knife, some of these cells are ruptured and their contents are released. Certain plants, like the onion, have developed defense mechanisms against this type of destructive action. When onion cells are destroyed, enzymes called alliinases initiate a series of chemical reactions resulting in the release of synpropanethial-S-oxide (also known as onion lachrymatory factor, or LF), a volatile gas that stings the eyes. To combat the stinging effect of the gas, the lachrymal gland at the corner of each eye produces tears to help wash the irritant away. For the plant, LF is an excellent natural deterrent against roaming herbivores, but for humans, it makes us look quite silly and emotional when preparing salad.

There are many ways to reduce or eliminate the “onion effect” during chopping, all of which involve minimizing your exposure to the noxious LF gas:

1) Chop under water. Copious amounts of water can help prevent LF gas from reaching the eyes. Try peeling the onion under running water and/or chopping the onion in a large water-filled bowl.

2) Chill or freeze the onion. The enzymes required to produce LF work well at room temperature, but are inhibited under colder conditions. By chilling the onion before cutting, you greatly reduce the activation of the chemical reactions.

3) Use a sharp blade. A sharper blade causes less damage to the onion cells, thereby releasing less chemicals.

4) Use a fan. Disperse the LF gas by aiming a small fan towards your cutting area and away from you.

5) Wear goggles. Protective eyewear can help prevent LF gas from reaching your eyes. You’ll need something that forms a seal around your eyes, however; standard glasses won’t do.

6) Do not chop the root. The root of the onion contains a greater concentration of the alliinases than the rest of the plant. By avoiding the root (or at least saving it for the end) you can reduce the amount of LF produced during chopping.

7) Chew gum. This one is a little weirder, and doesn’t seem to work as well for many people, but it’s still an option if you can’t do any of the above. Supposedly, vigorous chewing causes you to breathe more through your mouth, which disperses the LF gas and directs it away from your eyes and lachrymal glands.

8) Use a “better” onion. If you’re desperate for a truly tear-free onion, genetic engineering provides an alternative to freezing and gum chewing. In 2008, researchers at the New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research utilized gene-silencing technology to suppress a gene required for LF production. No more LF, no more sobbing over your chopping board.

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Source: Wikipedia – Onion, Wikipedia – Alliinase, e-How

Image: Wikipedia

April 11, 2011 at 2:00 am 14 comments

How to Cut Lime Wedges Like a Bartender

Forget the slap chop, I shared a chef’s secret for super fast and safe chopping a few days ago.

Now I want share a bartender’s secret for making lime wedges — check out the video. If you can’t view the video, read the description below.

Cut lime wedges

  1. Cut a lime in half along its longest side.
  2. Cut a slit on the inside of each half. It should be perpendicular to the direction you cut the lime in half and deep enough to release the lime juice without piercing through the skin from the inside.
  3. Place the half lime flat side down and cut 3 or 4 wedges perpendicular to the slit you made.
  4. Place the wedge on the rim of a glass so the rim fits into the slit in the wedge.
  5. Voila.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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July 2, 2010 at 5:00 am 8 comments

How to Make Your Grass Greener

Look outside. Every lawn on your street is a different shade of green. That’s because everybody cuts, waters and fertilizes differently, not to mention the half dozen varieties of common grasses that they may have.

I’ve never been that guy with the greenest lawn, so I asked my lawn specialist friend Mike how to make my lawn greener.

He told me the most important factor was how short I cut it. He said, “the longer you leave it, the better. Set your mower on its highest setting.” I was hesitant because I always cut my grass short and I liked the way that looked.

But, longer grass traps more moisture and reduces the sunlight that gets to the roots, which can burn the grass and dry it out.

Grass reacts to the sun like your skin does. Too much sun without protection will burn it. When you have/had a full head of hair, you don’t put sunscreen on top of your head because your hair protects your skin. The same goes for long grass, it provides shade for the roots and soil.

Long grass also develops a deeper root system which makes the grass more fit for dry and less fertile soil.

I followed Mike’s advice and my grass still looks neatly trimmed, it’s also the greenest grass I’ve ever had. But, there are other reasons why your grass turns brown or yellow. (more…)

June 8, 2010 at 5:00 am 8 comments

How Ballparks Stripe Their Grass

In North America, professional baseball fields are the highest form of manicured lawns. Elsewhere, professional football pitches and cricket fields are admired.

Achieving the striped affect is pretty straight forward. The grass appears lighter and darker because the blades of grass are bent in opposite directions. The lighter looking grass reflects more light because of the angle of its blades and the darker ones reflect less light because of their angle.

To bend grass in opposite directions, start by cutting the lawn in opposite directions. The back and forth method is the simplest example.

Most people cut their lawn like that anyway, but the stripes aren’t as dramatic as the professional fields. To improve the contrast, be sure to set your mower at its highest setting. Longer blades of grass bend better and will have a more dramatic look. In fact, longer grass makes for greener grass too — it protects the roots from drying out and turning yellow.

But, here’s the professional stripe trick, after cutting at least two different directions, roll the grass with a lawn roller. Roll the lawn in the same direction that you mowed, this bends the grass better, which intensifies the affect.

Lawn rollers can be bought or rented at many home and garden stores.

Broken Secrets | Written By: Chad Upton

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Source: Scotts

Photo: pamhule (cc)

April 29, 2010 at 12:01 am 3 comments


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