Hearts of palm are the growing stem tips of various palm trees, especially the South American peach palm Bactris gasipaes, which readily resprouts after its tip is cut. The tissue is fine-grained and crisp, with a sweet and slightly nutty taste, and is eaten both raw and cooked. Hearts of other palms may have a bitter edge and a tendency to brown discoloration; and their harvest often results in the wasteful death of the entire tree.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee. By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.