Culinary scientist Ethan Chlebowski demonstrated two different ways to slice an onion, pole-to-pole and orbital, showing how each technique affects the flavor, taste, texture, and aroma.
Onions can either be sliced pole to pole or orbitally and the one you choose can make a big difference on the dish. I use pole-to-pole slices of onion about 95% of because they rupture fewer onions cells and I like the texture compared to orbital slices.
He also explained which method ruptured more of the eye-stinging lacrimator cells within the onion.
The key sulfur product in the onion is called the lacrimator and this is released when we cut them. It is also the chemical responsible for making our eyes water…onion cells are not symmetrical they’re actually longer in pole-to-pole than orbital, meaning that orbital cuts rupture more onion cells releasing more lacrimators, meaning more eye watering and more oniony taste and this is really the crux of the matter. When it comes down to it orbital cuts rupture more onion cells