>the great onion experiment

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>I have a friend whose son needed some assistance with a science experiment. Because it’s always school around here, I thought it would be fun to assist and learn something ourselves along the way.

We were given six different methods of chopping onions and had to make note of how badly our eyes watered (or didn’t water). And because everything is more fun with a friend, we grabbed another student who planned to do the experiment and did it together. Here are Giggles and Summer, ready to get started. Giggles looks sweet and happy, even when she is trying to look mean. Summer just scares me.

First up was the candle. We were told to burn a candle near the cutting area. Here are their thoughts and physical reactions:
Summer: “I want to cry right now.” Her eyes were watering and burning.
Giggles: “My eyes are wateringish.” Watering, couldn’t see.

The girls took a break to wash up and went for a sit on the front porch. Next on the chopping block (hee-hee) was the freezer. We put an onion in the freezer for five minutes before chopping it up. Notice that we have some Snickerdoodle Blue Bell ice cream. We found that in the back of the freezer. I don’t know how in the world we have some left over…

Summer: “My eyes are starting to burn.” And as she was running out, red faced, she yelled, “Who do I sue???”
Giggles: “My throat stings… ow!” And then she ran out.

It appeared we may not make it through all six trials. We gave the girls a break… they rinsed their eyes and went outside to jump on the trampoline. Somewhere along the line, Summer tried to convince us that the onions were doing this to her eyelids…

Next, we tried chewing a piece of gum while chopping the onions. When asked, “What kind of gum do you have, Mrs. Shan?” I replied, “Blue.”

Summer: “All my senses are burning.” and then… “I’m stinging and starting to water.” This one took a little longer for her eyes to react.
Giggles: “I’m trying to concentrate on not crying.” She had stinging eyes, but it took longer to react.

Next, we were on to holding bread in our mouths. They were to hold a piece of bread in their lips while chopping the onion.

Summer: “It burns!”
Giggles: “I’m done! IT BURNS!!! NO MORE ONIONS!!!” “Hey, the bread wasn’t that bad.”

While the girls were outside resting their eyes again, I washed their cutting boards and sprayed them with vinegar for the next trial. Upon looking for the budding scientists, we found that they’d gone for a little run. Hmm… it looks like the onion fumes have gone to their heads.

Here are their lovely reactions to the vinegar…
Summer: “Vinegar stinks!” Stinging… eyes watering.
Giggles: “Yuck, vinegar smells.” “Okay, so far, it’s (the chopping) not that bad.” “Watering now… kinda stings.”

And then we were on to the final test. Goggles. We all agreed this would probably be the best, most effective method of chopping onions. Of course, it’s not the most fashionable but these girls are still cuties…


Summer: “Amazing!” A little bit of watering.
Giggles: Not major watering/burning.

All in all, it was a fun little experiment. They came to some conclusions… however, Dayna and I think a fresh pot of coffee and having your daughter cut the onions is the best way to get the job done without tears and stinging eyes! Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the onion smell… my house smells like a chopped onion, but our hands don’t! We used the little stainless steel trick… rubbing our hands on the stainless faucet as we washed. No onion smell here!

Here are their conclusions…

Summer’s ranking…
1 – goggles
2 – gum
3 – vinegar
4 – bread
5 – candle
6 – freezer

Giggles’s ranking…
1 – goggles
2 – vinegar
3 – gum
4 – bread
5 – freezer
6 – candle

These two don’t care if they never see another onion. Can’t say I blame them. Thanks for being such good sports!!

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4 responses »

  1. >Bless their hearts! I can only imagine how much they hate onions right now. My question is……what did you do with all of those chopped onions? Love the new blog look- especially your signature!

  2. >That was a real hoot. Best onion choppers I have ever seen. Can’t wait for them to make tuna fish at my house – they can chop the onions (with goggles of couse). Love the new blog layout, the colors are great. Oh my goodness – no PINK????

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