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Everyday food items under a microscope

Jan 10, 2021

Source: Unsplash

The holiday season is finally over. For some that is a welcome relief, especially if the weight of planning all those holiday meals fell on your shoulders. While some might be trying to avoid thinking about food per their New Year’s Resolution, we wanted to take a closer look — literally! Today we’ll take a look at everyday food items under a microscope and see food like we’ve never seen before.


Stinky on their own, they have a wonderful fragrance when sauteed. Moreover onions carry a lot of weight in the flavor department. Despite their reputation, they are fascinating under a microscope.


What we’re seeing here is a sample of onion skin under a compound microscope. The dark dots seen in each cell are actually the nucleus! As for those delicious flavors, onions are full of sugars, and those sugars are highly reactive when exposed to heat. Browned onions are particularly aromatic: the nose is very sensitive to the sulfur-containing molecules commonly found in onions. Cooking drives much of that off, and the resulting mass of browned onion is very sweet.


Honey really is one of nature’s best creations. Honey has been called the only food that truly lasts forever, thanks to its magical chemistry and the handiwork of bees. But  what does it look like under a microscope?

Source: Bee Ecology

Of course we can expect to see a beautiful honey-gold color. If we inspected closely, we may even find the occasional bee part. But don’t worry, it is completely harmless and in fact quite common in our daily lives. Peanut butter may legally contain up to 30 insect parts per 100 grams. But again, it is completely safe and undetectable. A little added protein couldn’t hurt?

Orange Peel

Ok, so maybe you’re not eating orange  peels directly, but you have probably used orange zest before which is simply orange peel shavings. But if you are eating orange peels plain, we won’t judge you for it. Let’s take a look at the peel under a microscope.


Here we’re seeing the trichomes of an orange peel under an electron microscope. A trichome is simply an outgrowth or hair out of the epidermis, or outside skin, of a plant. That’s a fun fact you can use at your next social event. Trust us, people love hearing about microscope fun facts at parties.

Want to see more everyday food items under a microscope? Consider purchasing your very own microscope from Nuhsbaum. Cooking tips included!

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