Travel Photo of the Day: Hearts of Palm in Brazil

Hearts of palm are a prized ingredient across several continents

The "heart" is actually the palm tree’s bud.

Considered to be a culinary delicacy throughout much of Latin America, North America, and Europe, hearts of palm are vegetables that are harvested from the center of a palm tree. Palm trees grow throughout tropical climates, but Brazil, Costa Rica, and Ecuador are some of the world’s top producers.

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This intrusive harvesting process actually requires an entire tree per palm heart since the "heart" is actually the tree’s bud. Sans bud, the tree can no longer grow. Not only does this make this exotic ingredient relatively expensive, it has also motivated the development of several domesticated palm tree breeds that have multiple stems with buds. These trees permit the farmers to extract more than one heart from a single tree.

Those who have tasted this ingredient fresh praise it for its tender and delicate flavor. They are oftentimes served alone or in a salad. In Brazil, they are also a popular pizza topping. 

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