Heart of Palm FAQ
What is Heart of Palm?
The heart of a palm tree is the edible portion (known as the terminal bud, or growing tip) of the palm tree. The heart of the palm tree is harvested by first cutting down the tree and then removing the fibrous palm leaves and sheaths, until only the edible center remains. The heart is a crunchy-creamy cylinder, usually about three to four feet in length.
The palm variety that we grow is called Bactris gasipae, more commonly known as peach palms. Peach palms are a clumping variety of palm tree. This means there are new palm shoots growing from the root mat, continuously replacing any mature palms that have been harvested. This is the key of our sustainable supply of palm hearts; as long as a healthy parent palm remains intact, the clump will continue to regenerate more baby palm trees all by itself!
How Can Heart of Palm be Used?
Why it’s the common cure-all, of course! Better than snake oil!
But all kidding aside, heart of palm is good to eat when it is raw or cooked. We are not professional chefs, but we have experimented with heart of palm in everything we know how to make. We have added palm to countless sauces and stir fry dishes. We replaced potatoes with sliced palm in potatoes au gratin — it was delicious and cooked very quickly! It even makes a great crab cake!
The mild flavor of the palm can be easily influenced by your favorite seasonings; you can marinate it before grilling, or sautee the palm with butter for an extra buttery kick in your scrambled eggs! The mild flavor of palm also means you can turn it into some great pickles with your favorite pickling recipe.
We have used palm heart on pizza, in omelets, and, of course, in salads and coleslaws. If you want delicious Chicken Hekka, add palm! It works well in curries, chutneys, and salsas as well. We have experimented with baking an entire heart wrapped in aluminum foil, with various herbs included. We have had success in slicing medallions to grill like sliced vegetables on the BBQ. Finally — and this may surprise you — heart of palm upside down cake came out great!
We encourage you to experiment and get creative. Feel free to send us your favorite recipes!
Who Uses Your Heart of Palm?
We have been selling high quality palm hearts to fine dining establishments and produce wholesale companies since 2005.
Anybody who’s anybody uses our hearts of palm!
Our palms are featured in many outstanding restaurants across the world. Here are a few:
- Boulevard Restaurant, San Francisco.
- The Park NYC, New York City.
- Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, New York City.
- E. Baldi Ristorante, Beverly Hills.
- Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab: Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington DC.
- Matsuhisa Restaurants: Denver, Vail, Aspen.
- Merriman’s: Waimea, Kapalua.
- Roy’s: Waikaloa, Poipu.
If you are kama’aina, we do not have a current retail outlet. Please email or call to place an order. The Island Naturals chain of grocery stores does occasionally carry locally grown heart of palm.
More Information and Nutritional Facts
There is a lot of information out there. The basics can be found in the Wikipedia article about hearts of palm.
The nutritional information on heart of palm varies. The commonly available nutritional facts are usually from the labels of pickled and canned heart of palm. Most examples we have found list iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and copper. These are along with protein which tested consistently at 2.3g per 100g serving size.
The Bactris variety that we grow has a lower level of calcium oxalate, which results in less browning of the shoots while in storage. Our Bactris variety will also cook far more quickly than Swamp Cabbage or Sabal palmetto palm heart.