hearts of palm

Heart of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees (notably coconut (Cocos nucifera), juçara (Euterpe edulis), Açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea), palmetto (Sabal spp.), and peach palm). Harvesting of many uncultivated or wild single-stemmed palms results in palm tree death (e.g. Geonoma edulis). However, other palm species are clonal or multi-stemmed plants (e.g. Prestoea acuminata, Euterpe oleracea) and moderate harvesting will not kill the entire clonal palm. Heart of palm may be eaten on its own, and often it is eaten in a salad.
An alternative to wild heart of palm are palm varieties that have become domesticated farm species. The main variety that has been domesticated is Bactris gasipaes, known in English as peach palm. This variety is the most widely used for canning. Peach palms are self-suckering and produce multiple stems, up to 40 on one plant, so harvesting several stems from a plant is not so expensive because the plant can live on. Another advantage it has over other palms is that it has been selectively bred to eliminate the vicious thorns of its wild cousins. Since harvesting is still labor-intensive, palm hearts are regarded as a delicacy.
As of 2008, Costa Rica was the primary source of fresh palm hearts in the U.S. Peach palms are also cultivated in Hawaii, and now have limited distribution on the mainland, primarily to the restaurant trade. Florida's wild Sabal palmetto or cabbage palm was once a source of hearts of palm but is now protected by conservation law.

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  1. Mountain Cat

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    There are three quinoa colors - I decided to run a taste test of all three. Since I could not cook all three in my rice cooker at the same time (without them running together), I decided this had to be a salad, as I wanted all the quinoa to be served at the same temperature. This recipe per...
  2. Morning Glory

    Hearts of Palm

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  3. Morning Glory

    Recipe Prosciutto, Watermelon and Hearts of Palm

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