A Universe Inside the Kitchen

Common food in the kitchen show unique and exciting features when viewed under a foldscope. Below are parts of fruit or vegetables that captured my fascination today.

All food samples were acquired in the Bechtel Residence’s open kitchen, Pasadena, CA on 5/30/2019, 4:00PM. I used a pocket knife to thinly slice the vegetable’s skins and to squash/flatten some of my samples. I also used my foldscope kit’s paper slides and coverslips to view my samples, and a personal desk lamp to illuminate my view. All pictures were taken from my iPhone X.

Raspberry hair

We can see the general shape of the pistils. This raspberry “hair” was obtained by simply removing it from the raspberry that you will see to the right.

Cherry Tomato Skin

Notice the yellow color, despite it being from a cherry tomato. The cells are also highly organized in a circular form, as if we were glancing into a flower.

Red Glow Radish Skin

The radish skin is distinctly purplish-red, even after thinly sliced. Notice how the cells at the edge of the skin are densely packed and black-ish. When light passes through the thinner sections of the peel, one can see how parallel the fibers are.

Red Onion Outer Skin

The pinkish hues of the red onion can easily be seen in my foldscope picture. Furthermore, the cells are organized in a very rectangular, grid-like fashion.

Red Onion Inner Skin

To clarify, this is the skin on the inside of the red onion. Notice how hexagonal the cells are, which differs from the outer skin’s cells. The inner skin is more translucent and was easy to peel off the sample.

Squashed Raspberry

We took a small sample from the raspberry and squashed it under the slide. The sample’s images show some reddish color but mostly a swirly, curly organization, clearly different from the two samples of red onion skin above.

Green Onion Skins

The skin of the green onion was sliced thinly in order for light to reveal the inner structures more clearly. Notice how lined the fibers of the green onion’s skin are, and how green the edges are.


Even under the foldscope, Broccoli is dense and deep-green. The cells do not follow any particular organization from our images, but it is interesting to note that there is some yellow in the green since we picked the bud. We prepared this sample by picking a bud and then squashing it flat to fit the slide.


Note the orange color and the water content. One can see that I squashed the carrot in the space where it is not orange but not exactly the background either. The carrot sample felt dry and stiff at the touch but revealed to carry some water.

Spinach Leaf

Last but not least, this spinach leaf shows patches of green bound together by thin, nearly-transparent fibers. One can see some dark spots in the some of the green patches, which may be chloroplasts.


One Comment Add yours

  1. dorithockman says:

    Great stuff! I love seeing the difference in the cell wall shape when you compare the tomato skin to the onion skin.

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