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By: Kate Hamilton
Posted: June 25, 2008, from the January 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Bring a breath of fresh air to your spa’s menu during the cold winter months with delicious pears. Unlike the tartness of an apple or the tang of citrus, pears are a delicate, juicy fruit with a grainy texture that tickles the tongue. Their aromatic scent also makes a great addition to skin care creams and lotions, as well as aromatherapy oils and candles.
There are nearly 1,000 varieties of pears, but only seven are grown commercially. The apple-shaped to teardrop-shaped fruit with its luscious texture has been sought after throughout history. In Western Asia, its use can be traced back 3,000 years. Pears were noted as “the gift of the gods” by the Greek poet Homer in his epic The Odyssey, and they were brought to the United States by the pilgrims. In the 1800s, people would pay up to $20, which today is equivalent to $222, for a taste of the rare fruit.
Pears are low in calories, are fat-free, and offer an excellent source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and copper, making them a powerful punch in any diet. Fiber helps the body digest foods, lowers cholesterol levels and binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Potassium is an electrolyte that maintains the body’s fluid levels, and helps to regulate blood pressure and heart function. Vitamin C and copper act as strong antioxidants that protect against free radicals. Pears also make a tasty energy-boosting snack for clients on the go or for use along with a pear-themed treatment.
In the kitchen
Pears can be combined with other fruits, such as apples, bananas and oranges, to create a plethora of delicious desserts—from tarts to scones. Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah, tantalizes guests with Poached Pear with Edible Flowers, and The Oaks at Ojai in Ojai, California, arranges pears in its Mincemeat Pear Pile/Strudel. See the recipe for Red Crimson Pear Phyllo Strudel, courtesy of Chef Steve Pernetti, of Cal-a-Vie in Vista, California, and a Skin Inc. magazine editorial advisory board member.
Pears also make a flavorful addition to salads, such as Canyon Ranch’s Winter Pear and Stilton Salad With Port Dressing and Toasted Walnuts; in salsas, salad dressings and chutney; and in soups, such as a Pear and Fennel Soup. Slice pears into wedges for use in a fruit and cheese tray—the juicy fruit mixes well with pungent cheeses, such as Stilton, chèvre or pecorino, and complements pork, lamb, duck and ham.