Tear-Free Onions Are Coming to Japan

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For some people with sensitive eyes, it's impossible to get through chopping an onion without weeping on the cutting board. Now RocketNews24 reports that Japanese researchers have developed a new strain of onion that doesn’t produce the same tearful side-effects.

After 20 years of trial and error, the Smile Ball will finally be ready to hit Japanese supermarkets this fall. The product was initially sold at Tokyo department stores and online shops last year. Consumers took home nearly five tons of the stuff during the trial run, indicating a serious market for eye-friendly onions.

As is the case with many vegetables, slicing into an onion results in a pungent chemical reaction. Alliinase, one of the enzymes present in onions, is also responsible for garlic’s signature stench. There’s already a milder, stink-free garlic on the market, and for chefs hesitant to wear goggles in the kitchen, a toned-down onion may sound even more appealing.

The Smile Ball’s tearless feature isn't the only thing that distinguishes it from a conventional onion. It also lacks the familiar smell and tastes sweet like an apple when eaten raw. A pack of two onions will cost $4.30—about twice the price of regular onions—once it reaches shelves.

[h/t RocketNews24]

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