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Tearless onions to go on sale in the UK

Crying onion, a parody on onions causing people to cry when peeling.

Cooks will be able to buy "tearless" onions for the first time when they go on sale in the UK from next week.

The Sunion onion is perfect for those with sensitive eyes as well as for cooking in the kitchen with children, the supermarket chain Waitrose says.

Their mild flavour makes them perfect for use in cooking while they can also be used raw in a salad, the firm added.

Waitrose onion buyer Paul Bidwell said: "We understand how appealing tearless onions are to our customers which is why we're delighted to launch Sunions in selected stores and via Waitrose.com from January 18.

"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 meals."

The onions are the invention of Rick Watson, a plant breeder working for the German chemical company BASF. He began working on the innovation in the late 1980s, using natural techniques rather than genetic modification to create the unique variety.

The brand said it took more than 30 years of breeding less pungent varieties of onion to find a variety where the vapours released on chopping are not powerful enough to bring tears to the eye.

Sunions said its onions are not a genetically modified product and were grown through an all-natural cross-breeding program.

It said volatile compounds in onions are responsible for the tears and pungent flavour, and the amounts of those compounds in other onions remain the same or increase over time. In Sunions, these compounds do the opposite and decrease to create a tearless, sweet and mild onion.

Sunions, which cost more than standard onions, are already on sale in America but have not been universally well-received.

A 2018 review in the Washington Post said they were very sweet - "sweet enough that you could sit there and eat them like popcorn" - and barely had any scent. Another journalist who tried them said they were "almost flavourless".

© PAA 2022

Image: Christopher Wood/Shutterstock

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