Despite onions being a staple in most recipes and adding delicious flavours to dishes, they are renowned for causing tears in the kitchen when they are peeled and chopped. Onions make you cry due to sulphoxides and onion enzymes reacting when chopped, this releases syn-propanethial S-oxide gas; this gas triggers the production of tears by the lachrymal glands in an attempt to prevent the gas from harming the exposed eye. A new type of onion has been developed, named the ‘Sunion’, which boasts to offer the same great taste of ordinary onions without the need of this tearful preparation process. At long last, the ordeal of chopping onions and the inevitable stream of tears that follow may no longer be a reality!This article investigates how the Sunion was developed and most importantly, whether it actually lives up to the cry-free claim.

Sunions are developed through a natural cross-breeding programme; meaning that the species has not been genetically altered to prevent the production of the tear-inducing gas. As typical onions age, the build-up of volatile compounds either stays the same or increases, resulting in eye irritation when chopped. This new type of onion however does the exact opposite. As the Sunion ages, the build-up of sulphoxides diminishes, which in turn reduces the likelihood of syn-propanethial S-oxide being released and thus, the need to cry.

Sunions are naturally grown in areas of Nevada and Washington and have a typically sweet taste and crunchy texture. Before the Sunions are delivered to shops, they are matured to ensure their sweet taste develops fully and most importantly, they don’t contain the sulphoxides which trigger tears.

Now that the first harvest of Sunions is making their way from the farm to the shop shelf, it is time to put these claims to the test. Many food journalists have experimented with this new type of onion, chopping and slicing the variety to test for tears. Although some claimed they felt slight irritation when leaning into the chopped onion, the vast majority reported that the Sunions removed 80%-90% of the irritation felt when chopping normal onions. But did the natural cross-breeding process influence the onion’s taste? Sunions were found to have a slightly sweeter and milder taste compared to the traditional yellow onion. With a possible solution to the age-old problem of crying when chopping onions, will Sunions eradicate this common issue and have cooks across the world crying tears of joy?

M&P Engineering is a leading manufacturer and supplier of food processing and food packaging equipment. With over 50 years’ experience, M&P Engineering has become a well-established name in the industry, assisting food manufacturers across the globe. M&P Engineering also offers a range of other technologies including their inline filler and custom depositors.

M&P Engineering’s small onion peeler uses a patented dry system for removing the outer skin, which means no slurry, and a peeled onion similar in quality to hand peeled at production speeds. These machines are original Mather and Platt onion peelers and can top, tail and peel onions from 18mm to 45mm. If you would like to find out more about M&P Engineering’s small onion peeler, call 0161 872 8378 or click here.


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