Japan’s Latest Food Innovation: Tear-Free Onions
Already known for inventing innovative food creations including instant noodles and square watermelon, Japanese scientists are now saying they’ve perfected a type of onion that won’t produce human tears.
After studying the chemistry of onions for more than a decade, researchers working for Japanese food giant House Foods Group report they’ve developed onions that contain an extremely low amount of tear-inducing enzymes, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The company says that while previous experiments focused on toning down the pungency of the popular vegetable, the latest research specifically dealt with eliminating the potential to cause human handlers of onions to cry.
According to the report, the research focused on a process of ion beam irradiation to create onions with weaker alliinase enzymes, which play a major role in making humans produces tears.
“It not only reduces the tears, but should put more smiles” on the faces of those working with the new onion variety, the company said in a statement.
Researchers from the company actually won the 2013 Ig Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering the causes of tearing induced by onions.
While the company clearly succeeded in reducing the main unpleasant effects of the onions, a major question remains – how will they actually taste when cooked and added to food?