Stunning Food Magnification Photos Reveal Your Meal in Microscopic Detail

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red licorice magnified photo
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Caren Alpert spent 18 years as a photo editor and food photographer before turning her artist's eye to the things we see every day but never look closely at: What we eat.

She uses scientific equipment to magnify and capture the striking surfaces of everything from fresh cauliflower to processed cake sprinkles in order to answer questions like, "How distinct is a pile of table salt from miles and miles of icebergs?" See if you can identify the foods in these images from their otherworldly close-ups.

Red Licorice

Do you recognize this volcano-ish opening? It's red licorice, which is made from sugar, fruit flavoring, and gelatin (or another chemical binder). Though red licorice doesn't usually contain licorice extract, its cousin, black licorice does -- and you can also use licorice extract for skin treatments and hangover helpers.

Photo: Caren Alpert