Other names: Chonta, Swamp Cabbage, Palmito, Palm Heart
Translations: Hearts of Palm, Inimi de palmier, Hearts of Palm, Palm serca, Palmharten, हथेली के दिल, Palmito, Пальмовая сердцевина, Καρδιές των Palm, قلوب النخيل, 마음을 손바닥, Srdcích Palm, Of Hearts Palm, 棕榈心, Srdciach Palm, Cuori di palma, לבבות דקל, Hearts of Palm, Срца са срецом, ハーツオブパーム, Coeurs de palmier, Palmherzen, Пальмова серцевина, Сърцето на палмово
Each stalk of hearts of palm is approximately four inches long and ranges anywhere from a quarter of an inch to an inch and a half in circumference. The smaller the diameter, the more tender. They are ivory in color.
Colors: Ivory, cream, white
Flavors: Slightly sweet, grassy
Mouthfeel: Chewy, Slightly crunchy
Food complements: Beans, Salad, Parmesan cheese, Pasta
Wine complements: Sherry, Rose, Riesling
Beverage complements: Earl gray tea, Lemon water
Substitutes: Artichoke, Asparagus
Selecting and Buying
Seasonality: february, march, april, may, june
Peak: march, april
Choosing: Look for firm, smooth, white stalks without any discoloration.
Buying: Fresh hearts of palm are difficult to find outside of areas, generally tropical, where they are grown. Across the United States and Europe, hearts of palm are generally found in cans, packed in water, at fine food stores. Hearts of palm can be expensive outside of their growing area due to the relative inaccessibility of the plant.
Procuring: The palm trees that provide hearts of palm are grown in tropical climates. These trees produce several stems, which are harvested by hand in the spring; sometimes a stem or two is left to allow the tree to continue growing, and sometimes all stems are removed and the remainder of the palm tree is used for other purposes.
Preparation and Use
Either fresh or canned, hearts of palm should be rinsed and then may be sliced or chopped to add to salads or pasta. They can also be deep fried. The stalks are generally tender enough to cut with a standard kitchen blade.
Cleaning: Hearts of palm should be rinsed prior to use.
Conserving and Storing
Fresh hearts of palm should be consumed immediately, since the shelf life of this vegetable is very short. When purchased canned, store the uneaten part in a non-metal container in the refrigerator for up to one week.