The PALM TREE HEART
is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees, notably Palmito Juçara (Euterpe edulis), Açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea) , the coconut (Cocos nucifera),etc.
Heart of palm may be eaten on its own, and often it is eaten in a salad.
Since harvesting is still a labor intensive task, palm hearts are regarded as a delicacy.
Brazil was the highest producer of uncultivated hearts of palm, but in the 1990s its quality went down mostly because of unsustainable poaching for stems (called colete, Portuguese for "vest") of the main producing species, Palmito Juçara - Euterpe edulis - is now considered as threatened with extinction in the wild.
When harvesting the cultivated young palm, the tree is cut down and the bark is removed leaving layers of white fibers around the center core. During processing the fibers are removed leaving the center core or heart of palm. The center core is attached to a slightly more fibrous cylindrical base with a larger diameter. The entire cylindrical center core and the attached base are edible.
center core is considered more of a
delicacy because of
its lower fiber content.