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Know Your Ingredients: Hearts of Palm

You may regularly get hearts of palm as a fixing at the salad bar, but do you know what these vegetables are, exactly?

Hearts of palm — also called palmito or swamp cabbage — are the sweet, tender cores of various palm trees. When harvested, the tree's bark and white fibers are removed, leaving an edible core. Because extracting the palm's inner core destroys single-stemmed coconut, acai, and sabal palm trees, multi-stem palms known as peach palms are cultivated solely for the purpose of harvesting palm hearts.

A staple of Latin American cuisine, hearts of palm are used in spreads, eaten out of hand, tossed into salads, and served with pasta.

The plant has a mild flavor similar to that of an artichoke heart, and is crisp when fresh, though it turns softer when canned. Are you surprised to hear where this salad bar staple comes from? What are some other ingredients you've always wondered about?

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Join The Conversation
rachel-lady rachel-lady 8 years
I just identified hearts of palm in a salad this past weekend and have already gone through 2 cans of it myself. Seriously delicious and almost buttery. Thanks, Yum!!!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I never heard of these before.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
Thanks, Yum! So interesting. I'm a hearts of palm fanatic but never knew their origin. Love the trivia!
weffie weffie 8 years
mmmmmmm... i shouldn't read yumsugar before lunch, i'm so hongray now :)
blondambition02 blondambition02 8 years
I love hearts of palm! I can eat a whole can/jar in one sitting. My favorite salad is tomatoes, asparagus and hearts of palm with a little lemon juice squeezed on top!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
I was just eating a palm salad with shrimp and an olive oil and lemon dressing yesterday, and my coworker and I were questioning which veggies were the hearts of palm! Funny this just came up today! The salad was very tasty by the way.
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