The nourishment that accompanies the addition of vegetables to our diets is usually unmatched. Hearts of palm is a white vegetable sourced from the inner core and growing buds of cabbage palm trees.
The name ‘hearts of palm’ might sound quite strange to you. You might have come across it in the vegetable salad section of a restaurant’s menu, or see it mentioned in recipe ingredients online. If you are the adventurous type, put your skepticism aside and try out this awesome vegetable.
What do hearts of palm taste like? Hearts of palm has a delicate, non-starchy, slightly nutty, and vegetal flavor similar to that of artichoke hearts. It has a very crispy, creamy, and crunchy taste. This enhances its sweetness and adaptability to various cuisines. Hearts of palm resemble smooth white asparagus but with a more delicate flavor.
It is known for its versatility in culinary uses. This distinct veggie is not only sweet, it has constituents that make it a healthy choice for the body.
Nutritional Benefits of Hearts of Palm
The veggie brags well of health-boosting minerals, vitamins, and fiber content. It contains important vitamins A, B, C, K, potassium, iron, copper, phosphorus, zinc, protein, and 17 different types of amino acids. Weight watchers would find delight in this vegetable as it is fat-free.
Hearts of palm is a great source of fiber needed to promote good heart health. You would be getting close to a healthy recommendation of 21-38 grams of fiber per day when you consume 2 grams of the vegetable per serving. Also, the fiber and potassium content in fresh hearts of palm has been proven to help lower blood and cholesterol level in the body.
The risk of developing ailments as a result of high sugar content in the body can be reduced by consuming this vegetable. Apart from the benefits, it does great things for the human cardiovascular system. This unique veggie helps keep blood sugar down and plays an important role in combating diabetes.
For vegetarians that have to cut down their beef consumption and need natural iron supplements, hearts of palm is a perfect option for you. The combination of iron and vitamin C in it is an easy way to increase one’s iron absorption. Also, pregnant women and young children can reduce the risk of getting iron-deficiency anemia when they consume the vegetable.
Elderly ones can easily become nutrient deficient and lose appetite. This will eventually lead to their brain declining. The vegetable is a convenient source of vitamin B that helps enhance the proper functioning of the old-aged brain.
Culinary Uses of Hearts of Palm
Hearts of palm have a delicate flavor and can be used in various ways in cooking. The vegetable can be eaten as an appetizer by grilling and seasoning it. Its usage is popular in salads, dips, stir-fry, and ceviche. It can also be chewed by vegetarians raw or added to diets to serve as meat or seafood substitute.
It can be used to make vegan lobster rolls, fish sticks, and calamari. The taste of cress salad can be boosted by adding hearts of palm. Toss the finely diced vegetable in a bowl of refreshing salad filled with watercress, tomatoes, olives, garlic, and juicy orange.
The combination of this vegetable with cilantro vinaigrette is a perfect way to ease the stress of the day. Add fresh cilantro, shallot, lemon juice, and honey and orange juice to the perfectly chopped heart of the palm. Make sure you serve it right after you make it to taste the orange juice flavor.
You can make international dishes from the comfort of your house with it. Brazil-inspired avocado salad can be made richer, better and creamer by using a freshly cut heart of palm and mayonnaise dressing.
Similar non-starchy vegetables can be eaten with this white vegetable. Toss Quinoa, artichoke hearts, and the crunchy vegetable into a mixture of wine vinegar and avocado oil.
Where Did Hearts of Palm Originate From? How Do You Procure It?
Hearts of palm have been consumed by a large number of people for a very long time. Its origin can be traced back to pre-colonial times. It is obtained from cabbage palm trees that are native to South and Central America. Its tree would only grow in tropical and humid areas. The rise in demand for the vegetable and the need to preserve them for long gave birth to them being sold in cans or jars.
It is not eaten immediately after it has been carved from the tree. Even in regions where it is grown and cultivated, the white vegetable is first cleaned and boiled before eaten. This is because it is highly perishable and can cause damage to human health in its spoiled form.
The vegetable can be purchased all year round. It can be easily gotten in cans or jars in grocery stores, health food stores, and supermarkets. They are usually sold whole or pre-sliced. If you’re not ready to eat it immediately after purchase, you can keep it in a cool dry place for up to 3 months.
Leftover vegetables can be stored in the freezer for about a week before it starts going bad.
Are Hearts of Palm Expensive?
The proximity to a food source and the cost of transportation to different parts of the world would affect how much it will be sold to final consumers. Hearts of palm is always considered an expensive menu item in restaurants. But your pocket shouldn’t make you miss out on this savory and beneficial vegetable.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Hearts of Palm
- Hearts of palm is locally known as palm cabbage or Palmetto in Florida, Corazon de Palma in Spain, ubod in the Philippines, and cafaglione in Italy.
- To get the edible part of the cabbage palm tree the vegetable is gotten from, the bark is removed after it has been felled. This will leave soft, edible layers of white vegetables around its inner core.
- In 2018, Costa Rica was the major distributor of hearts of palm to the United States of America.
- The major source of this vegetable in Southeast Asia is coconut.