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Summer's Charmed Cherries

Kate Hamilton July 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Native to Central Asia, cherries are a luscious burgundy-red fruit. Not only can they be used as a great anti-aging ingredient, but they also can add a pleasant perfume to any treatment. The tangy, sweet taste completes any meal—from pie to jelly—making eating healthy an easy endeavor.

Facts

Recognized for its white blossoms, cherries are round with flesh surrounding large pits. They are excellent sources of vitamin C and are high in vitamin A, polyphenols, antioxidants and anthocyanins—active compounds that help prevent oxidative damage. In addition, cherries pack a dietary punch, containing calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper and iron. Although the sweet taste is highly sought after, cherries are delicate, extremely vulnerable to the elements and costly to harvest during the short picking season.

In the kitchen

Cherries, delicious when eaten fresh, are featured in a variety of desserts, ranging from tarts to puddings. The fruit can be preserved, cooked, dried or candied, and it makes a great complement to cheese and meat. Try the Toasted Hazelnut Pancake with Bing Cherry Compote at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix. Georg Ots Spa Hotell in Kuressaare, Estonia, offers Baked Golden-brown Emmental Cheese and Wild Cherry Sauce. In Fish Creek, Wisconsin, the Lavender Spa at Settlement Courtyard Inn provides the option of enjoying Door County Cherry Juice with each session. Other selections include Seared Duck Breast with Pea Shoots and Cherry Reduction, Cherry Flambé dessert and Cherry Blossom Cola, all offered at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown in Washington, D.C., during its National Cherry Blossom Festival. See also Cherry Oatmeal Cookies, courtesy of Pastry Chef Craig Lewkowitz, of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme, Michigan.

In the spa

The primary benefit of Rhonda Allison’s Cherry Jubilee Enzyme is its abundance of polyphenols rich in antioxidants that create potent aging protection. Sour Cherry Whip Moisturizer from Éminence Organic Skin Care uses sour cherry extract as a toning and enriching agent that is packed with bioflavonoids. A Natural Difference’s Cherry Berry Peel rids the face of free radicals and strengthens collagen. Or try Soluzione Spa Products’ Cognac Cherry line featuring body creams, sprays, bath gels and scrubs.

Near the acclaimed “Cherry Capital of the World,” in Traverse City, Michigan, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers a variety of cherry-themed treatments capitalizing on the local ambiance. The menu includes the Cherry Honey Glow, Cherry Manicure and Pedicure, and Cherry Essence Massage. The spa’s Cherries and Cream is a hot bath drawn with salts and a signature cherry essence oil. El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa in Taos, New Mexico, deeply cleanses with its 28 Day Skin Transformation Facial that features a custom enzyme mask of black cherry extract. At the Pompano Beach Club in Southampton, Bermuda, a Chocolate Cherry Mud Wrap detoxifies the skin with a rich mud infused with the scent of chocolate cherry, followed by a cherry bath.

Just a bowl of cherries

Whether added to a fresh salad or served as a glaze, cherries bring a little sweetness to any dish. For the treatment room, protect the skin with cherry’s anti-aging properties.

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Cherry Quick Facts

• There are three varieties of cherries—sweet, sour and wild. Sweet cherries are noted as large and heart-shaped, while sour varieties are favored for pies and preserves.

• Most sweet cherries are ripe for picking around mid-June, while tart cherries mature between mid-July and early August.

• A cherry pitter is a handy tool that easily pits the fruit.

• The cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., were a gift from Japan in 1912 and symbolize the coming of spring.

• Traverse City, Michigan, the “Cherry Capital of the World,” hosts a National Cherry Festival each year.

Recipe: Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup and 2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup and 2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/4 cups dried tart cherries

3/4 cup walnut pieces

2 teaspoons (level) baking soda

2 teaspoons (level) kosher salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 fresh eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.

2. Combine all ingredients together, kneading by hand until well mixed.

3. Spoon onto two large baking sheets coated with cooking spray in 24 equal portions.

4. Bake on the middle rack until golden for approximately 12 minutes.

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