Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Hearts of Palm

hearts of palm = palmitos = palm hearts = swamp cabbage    Equivalents:  1 cup = 146 grams Notes:  These are peeled cabbage palm buds, and they’re terrific in salads or as a vegetable side dish. You can buy them fresh only in Florida, but the canned version is quite good.  Substitutes:  artichoke hearts (to add to salads) OR asparagus (as a side dish)

(Cook’s Thesaurus, “Stalk Vegetables”,  http://www.foodsubs.com/Stalk.html)

I tried hearts of palm for the first time a few weeks ago. They were used in a chickpea salad at a local diner, and I liked them so much that I had to ask the server about them (I think that my exact words were, “what are the white, donut-shaped vegetables [the centres were poked out]”?). I was looking forward to using them at home, but then I read this:

Palm, Heart of
Cocos nucifera and other palms
The tender core of different kinds of palm. The queen of them all is the heart of a coconut palm, firm and crunchy and slightly sweet. In order to enjoy this luxury the tree has to die [bold font added by me for emphasis]. In many countries it is becoming increasingly rare with the realisation that it is better to let the tree live and bear fruit. However, under some circumstances a tree has to be sacrificed for very good reasons, and then the heart of palm may be enjoyed without guilt.
(Asia Food, “Palm, Heart of”, http://tinyurl.com/palmheartof)

If it is true that the tree has to die to harvest hearts of palm, then I think that I will forgo eating them. It’s too bad though because they were quite tasty.

Edited to add:

It looks as though some companies, like Native Forest have discovered less harmful and more sustainable ways to harvest hearts of palm.

Native Forest Hearts of Palm

Native Forest Hearts of Palm


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