I’ve had this can of hearts of palm since college. My late PopPop gave it to me, probably because they’re super healthy (he was a doctor after all). They were his favorite. I never had the desire to try them…until he passed. With week 1 of the Whole30 underway, it’s time to spice up my meals with funky fruits and veggies. After a bit of research I learned that it’s the core in the stem of a palm tree (duhh). When the palm tree reaches a certain height and diameter, it’s cut down for specific flavor, quality, and freshness. Hearts of palm has been eaten for thousands of years, but today, it’s a staple ingredient found in Brazilian and Floridian cooking. They’re tender, flaky texture makes an unusual, yet affective vegetarian substitute for seafood.
AKA: palm hearts · palmito · chonta · swamp cabbage · peach palm
Plant: palm trees
Origin: South America
Benefits: improves digestive health · assists in calcium strengthening · regulates blood pressure
Nutrition: fiber · iron · potassium · vitamin B6 · zinc
Substitutes: artichoke · asparagus · crab meat · scallops
Store: near other canned & jarred vegetables, or in the international section
Preparation: enjoy drained from the canned or jarred palm and slice. If using fresh palm hearts, lightly wash and eat as is. Cook hearts of palm like any other vegetable: braise, sauté, boil, and fry whole or sliced.
Storage: refrigerate fresh hearts of palm in a tightly-sealed bag for 1-2 weeks or until ready to use. Store cans or jars in a dark place at room temperature. Once opened, transfer to an airtight container with its liquid (or cover with water) and use within 1 week.
Taste & Texture: soft with a light crunch · tender · flakey layers · briny but mild
Suggested Uses: toss in salad · mash into dips · add to omelettes · add to savory pies and casseroles · add to curries · batter and deep-fry · top on pizza · mold into patties
Grilled Hearts of Palm with Parm (via Food Republic)
Hearts of Palm Tacos (via Serious Eats)
Crabless Cakes (via Food & Wine)
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For best flavor, buy whole hearts of palm as opposed to pre-cut like pictured above.