Japan’s Fancy New Onions Won’t Make You Cry
The humble onion is a cornerstone of cuisines the world over, but it’s got one major flaw: Cut into one, and you’re liable to end up a blubbery, tear-y mess.
The humble onion is a cornerstone of cuisines the world over, but it's got one major flaw: Cut into one, and you're liable to end up a blubbery, tear-y mess. But don't despair—if you live in Japan a fix is on the way in the form of a weep-free onion. Don't you cry tonight, Japan.
Japanese researchers spent 20 years trying to create an onion that wouldn't make people cry when cutting it, and the future has (sort of) arrived with the Smile Ball. While the Smile Ball won't make you cry, apparently it's a bit different from regular onions—Smile Balls don't smell like regular onions, and eaten raw they taste sweet, like apples, according to RocketNews 24.
Despite the slightly different flavor profile, Smile Balls have proven to be something of a hit. The onions were market tested in Tokyo department stores and online, and they completely sold out immediately. When the Smile Balls roll out en masse, they'll cost US $4.30 for a pair, or about double what normal onions cost in Japan.
This isn't the first time researchers have rolled out a tear-less onion. A British farmer unveiled a tear-free onion last year that likewise took 20 years to develop, and press materials claimed that that onion, the Asda Sweet Red, wouldn't cause bad breath.
The tears in onions are caused by a chemical reaction that occurs when an onion is cut, and in the case of the Asda Sweet Red, the farmer that developed the onion selectively bred onions with lower pungency levels in order to create an onion that won't make people cry.
Online, the onions were met with some skepticism, with commenters wondering about the Smile Onion's nutritional value. But if the earlier sales frenzy is anything to go by, the onions should be a hit.
Soon enough, cutting an onion can be a pain-free experience. For you, that is—just remember, plants know when they are being eaten. The thought of that might make you shed a tear.