Onions may be one of the healthiest, most flavorful vegetables on the face of the Earth, but they’re definitely no fun to chop. However, your days of getting teary-eyed in the kitchen may be coming to an end as Japanese company House Foods Group prepares to launch the world’s first tear-free onion to the market.
Aptly named “Smile Ball”, because it puts a smile on your face rather than make you cry, this new type of onion is the result of two decades of research. In 2002, House Foods Group scientists published a paper in which they hypothesized that tear-inducing enzymes in onions could be weakened while retaining their full flavor and nutritional value. Their research actually won an Ig Nobel Prize – an award handed out to honor achievements organizers consider unintentionally funny – but last year the company announced that their theory had finally become reality. Although the announcement mentioned that House Foods Group had no intention of producing Smile Ball onions commercially anytime soon, it appears the wonder vegetables will hit Japanese stores this fall.