Preparing a nice meal for yourself or those close to you should be an enjoyable task, right? Tears definitely should not come in to play when making a beautiful bolognese or grilling up fajitas fixings. Unfortunately, though, we often do well up when working in the kitchen, and that's all thanks to the pungency of onions. But now, Sunions, the world's first tearless onions, are apparently here to take away our pain.
Sunoins actually made their debut back in October at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit in New Orleans, but only now are folks outside of produce circles really starting to talk about the innovative new veggie. According to a press release from Golden Sun Marketing, the world's first tearless onion is a product of over three decades of research and development. The Sunion is a long-day sweet onion (which just means its bulbs require around 15 hours of sunlight to grow) and they're grown in the United States. What makes them different from typical long-day sweet onions, however, is their volatile compounds — yep, grab your lab coat because we're about to talk science.
In most onions, volatile compound levels increase during storage, and those higher levels cause the onion to become more pungent. The pungency contributes to teariness when you cut them. Volatile compound levels in Sunoins do the opposite. Overtime, Sunions actually get milder, sweeter, and yes, tearless.
Now, are you wondering if perhaps the a milder onion would lack taste or even that innate oniony flavor they're good for? The Sunonion press release cites results from consumer tests to address this possible issue. Sunions have apparently been called the "best onions I've ever had" and one consumer even asked, "How could it not make me cry and still smell like a real onion?" The answer to that is there's a a sensory panel tasked with determining the ideal ship dates. According to Lyndon Johnson, crop manager for onions at Bayer Vegetable Seeds where the Sunion hybridization was done, "We’ve established a strict protocol with our sensory team not to allow the release of Sunions until they reach peak flavor and tearlessness." The protocol allows for the best of both worlds.
Sunions have begun their first season of retail availability, according to Golden Sun Marketing, so keep your eyes peeled for them at grocery stores, and then report back if your chopping experiences really is tear-free. If so, we might end up with our own Julia Child-like pile.