What Are Hearts Of Palm And What Do They Taste Like?

The world of vegetables is diverse and full of unique options. Case in point? Hearts of palm. As per Food & Wine, hearts of palm are vegetables that come from the cabbage palm tree, most commonly found in Central and South America. According to The Spruce Eats, after they are harvested, they are cut into their signature tube shape or sliced into circles, and are then placed in water or brine to prolong their shelf life.

When you look at them, you may be reminded of asparagus, but they're in a league of their own as far as taste is concerned. As per The Spruce Eats, the taste of hearts of palm can be best described as "delicate." And yes, the crunchy vegetable is delicious and can be eaten in many ways. Their strength lies in the fact that they have a solid nutritional profile and that they can work well with lots of dishes. Impressive much?

They're good for you

According to VeryWell Fit, hearts of palm are fairly low in calories. Around 73 grams of the vegetable will only cost you around 20 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 3.4 grams of carbs, and 1.8 grams of protein. They have several essential nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B2, copper, iron, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. They're also high in fiber and are believed to be good for those who want to control their blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels. Additionally, they are high in iron and vitamin C and can help prevent deficiencies in those minerals. They're also a great tool for weight management, on account of the fact that they help you stay full for longer periods. The only downside worth noting is that cans and jars bought from the supermarket may contain a lot of extra sodium, so it's a good idea to rinse hearts of palm with water to decrease their sodium levels.

They have a unique taste

It is tricky to assign a particular flavor profile to hearts of palm. According to Food 52,  they can be perceived as a cross between asparagus, artichoke hearts, and water chestnuts. The flavors are mild, and their texture is definitely "creamy" and easy to work with. Interestingly, they can act as a substitute to meat or seafood if you're after a similar texture.

Getting access to this vegetable isn't difficult. Plenty of supermarkets stock jars full of hearts of palm. However, if you're certain that you only want to buy them fresh, you'll probably find them a lot harder to locate, and you will have to hunt around in specialty grocery stores. Or you may come across some online. However, it's not really worth the hard work considering that fresh hearts of palm cannot be stored for long periods on their own.  As per VeryWell Fit, they'll stay good for two weeks at the most.

They are suitable for several dishes

Everything said and done, hearts of palm are versatile, delicious, and worth experimenting with. Need a creamy dip? You should incorporate hearts of palm, as per Food & Wine. It is a super easy process and all you need is a bit of olive oil, garlic, and lime zest with hearts of palm to prepare a dip that's healthy and yummy at the same time. Of course, salads are always a good idea, and hearts of palm are a great topping as they pair nicely with a number of vegetables. Food & Wine suggests a few different pairings, including with watercress or avocado.

You can even eat them without any add-ons. A Redditor writes, "I just eat them straight up, after drying them off a bit. So yummy, and such an interesting texture!" Meanwhile, another commentator mentioned that they simply love adding hearts of palm to homemade pizza. Want something unconventional? A Redditor suggests putting them in vegetarian crab cakes like these for an unexpected burst of flavors.