No longer just a ball of tears, the Smile Ball is here to change the way you think about onions.

Onions are many things; they’re versatile, flavorful, relatively inexpensive, and full of nutrients. They are also no fun to chop.

The reason behind the tears is a volatile gas that’s released by the onion cells when damaged by, for example, a chopping knife. This year, however, the days of tearful food preparation may be at an end, as Japanese researchers have, after more than 20 years of trial and error, produced onions which release nearly none of those eye-irritating gasses.

This tearless onion, named the Smile Ball, was sold in trial runs at department stores and online shops within Tokyo, selling out of nearly five tons of the bulbous root. The onions will be sold at supermarkets nationwide this fall, though no specific start date has been specified. The onions will cost 450 yen (US$4.30) for a pack of two, which is approximately twice the price of traditional onions.

▼ A comparison between a regular onion (left) and the new ball full of smiles (right)

無題Image via Otakomu

The Smile Ball is said to not carry the characteristic smell of regular onions, and, when eaten raw, contains a sweetness similar to apples or nashi Asian pears. But how does the Japanese internet feel about this revolutionary new food? Less than enthusiastic…

“But what about its nutrition content?”
“You know that if you chill an onion in the fridge you can pretty much mince it without any tears, right?”
“As you grow older you naturally stop tearing up, so forget that and do something about its smell.”

While there don’t seem to be any smiles around for the Smile Ball, judging from its trial sales last year, there are plenty of consumers around willing to shell out for some sting-free slicing and dicing.

Source: The Hokkaido Shimbun PressOtakomu
Top image: FreeDigitalPhotos/Stuart Miles