Hearts of palm are a great treat! They are expensive! And, they have a very memorable nutty, artichoke-like taste, which is exciting and just right at salad events — a must-have a festive Brazilian churrascarias. This delightful treat has other names including palmito, swamp cabbage and cabbage palm. When you taste a piece of heart of palm, you’ll find it has a pleasing, smooth texture. Not at all heart-shaped, pieces of the palm are always smooth cylinders, a pale ivory in color and they go down very easily.
When Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean, he learned from the Carib Indians how they used many materials from the Pejibaye palm and feasted on the heart of it. Floridian natives were growing and enjoying the hearts, as well.
Early hearts of palm were largely grown in Brazil and secured from the heart of the icara palm which was becoming endangered an necessitated longer growth time. Now production is brisk in Costa Rica and Ecuador where hearts are harvested from quicker-growing, non-endangered palms. Their expense is still due to labor-intensive harvesting issues. In short, hearts are the low-fiber core of a larger young palm carefully separated out.
Hearts of palm are rich in iron, calcium, copper, magnesium and zinc.
Because they do not store well, hearts of palm are preserved in brine, in cans or glass jars, for distribution in North America.
Fresh hearts of palm are not conducive to transport or storage, and are universally available only in cans or jars, preserved in a simple brine.
Rinse the hearts under plain water to remove the brine taste before serving. Store any leftovers, sealed in their brine, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Seafood accompaniment
- Wrapped with ham
Foodsites with heart of palm recipes: