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HomeLifestyleFood & RecipesWaitrose set to sell special onions that won't make your eyes water

Waitrose set to sell special onions that won’t make your eyes water

No more tears! Waitrose becomes first UK stockist of onions that won’t make your eyes water after being specially harvested to contain less volatile compounds

  • Waitrose are set to sell a variety of onion that doesn’t reduce cooks to tears
  • Grown in the US, Sunions® are the first tearless and sweet onion variety 
  • Sunions don’t release as much lachrymatory-factor synthase – a volatile compound that forms sulphuric acid when it comes into contact with eyes










Any home cook knows the eye-watering frustration of cutting onions.

But crying in the kitchen could become a thing of the past as Waitrose are set to sell a variety of sweet onion that doesn’t reduce cooks to tears across UK stores. 

Grown in the US, Sunions® are the first tearless and sweet onion variety, perfect for those with sensitive eyes as well as cooking in the kitchen with children. 

Grown in the US, Sunions® are the first tearless and sweet onion variety, perfect for those with sensitive eyes as well as cooking in the kitchen with children

The mild flavour makes them perfect for use in cooking while they can also be used raw in a salad, Waitrose say. 

Paul Bidwell, Onion Buyer at Waitrose told FEMAIL: ‘We understand how a-peeling tearless onions are to our customers which is why we’re delighted to launch Sunions in selected stores and via Waitrose.com from 18th January.

‘Ideal for taking the tears out of the kitchen, the sweetness of this type of onion lends itself perfectly to a variety of dishes, from salads to hot.    

Sunions rare created through natural cross-breeding rather than genetic modification.

The mild flavour makes them perfect for use in cooking while they can also be used raw in a salad, Waitrose say.

The mild flavour makes them perfect for use in cooking while they can also be used raw in a salad, Waitrose say.

Onions cause eyes to eater because the vegetable causes dangerous sulfenic acid to form in our eyes.

Why do onions make you cry? 

Onions produce a chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes’ lachrymal glands so they release tears.

While that may sound serious, the chemical will only ever irritate your eyes, it won’t ever cause any permanent damage. Some people have more sensitive lachrymal glands than others,

Cooling down an onion will work – because the chemical is more potent at room temperature – or wearing goggles, but nothing else so long as the irritant has access to your eye.

However the amount of acid caused by the chemical that the onion releases is so small that it only irritates our eyes, which is why we often cry when chopping them up. 

When an onion is cut, it has a natural defence mechanism that springs into action, producing a compound that irritate the eyes

By analysing the crystal structure of a chemical in the onion, a 2017 study found exactly how a particular enzyme in onions helps the tear-inducing compound take effect.  

Sunions don’t release as much lachrymatory-factor synthase – a volatile compound that forms sulphuric acid when it comes into contact with the water in your eyes, triggering the body to produce tears – when they’re chopped.

Sunions  didn’t happen by accident and are a product of more than three decades of farming, research and development.

Their website reads: ‘Sunions are currently grown only in Nevada and Washington. 

‘Their tearless quality and incredible flavour profile that is consistently sweet, mild and crunchy is all thanks to a tightly-controlled brand promise that Sunions must be certified to be both tearless and sweet before shipping to grocery stores.’ 

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