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Onionade – The Onion-Based Lemonade You Never Knew You Craved

Onion hardly seems like the best vegetable to base a soft drink on, but Onionade doesn’t contain the kind of onion you’re used to, but a new type that not only doesn’t make you cry when you chop it, but it unusually sweet as well.

Back in 2016 we reported on one of the most interesting inventions to come out of Japan in the past few years – a tear-free onion named “Smile Ball”. Developed over a period of 14 years by scientists at House Foods Group, Smile Ball onions release almost no tear-inducing compounds when chopped or eaten raw, and have a much sweeter taste than regular onions. Available in Japanese grocery stores for the past two years, Smile Balls have been marketed mainly as tear-free alternatives to the common onion, but now its producers want to promote the vegetable’s sweetness and pleasant flavor as well. And what better way to do that than by producing an onion-based drink called Onionade?

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Japanese Company to Start Selling Tear-Free Onions This Fall

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.

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