OFF THE SHELF
Fresh Hawaiian heart of palm versatile and nutritious
By Zenaida Serrano Espanol
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Steam or stir-fry heart of palm, or eat it raw.
Gregory Yamamoto The Honolulu Advertiser
The gourmet product that comes from the core of the peach palm normally available only to restaurants or to the public in a canned version will be among several items featured at the Celebrate Hawai'i Festival. The product fair runs through Sunday at Daiei stores in Kaheka, Waipahu, Kailua and Pearl City.
Samples of fresh heart of palm will be available 10 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Kaheka store. There will also be cooking demonstrations with Y. Hata chef Ernesto Limcaco, 11-1 p.m. Saturday at Kailua and 11-1 p.m. Sunday at Waipahu. Recipes for the dishes will be available at all four stores.
Before use, remove the outer sheath of the stem portion by slicing lengthwise with a knife and removing the heart section in the center, said Loke Hill-Higgins of the Wailea Agricultural Group, the largest supplier of heart of palm in the United States.
The edible portions are the young leaves at the top, the heart inside the stem and the large base portion.
The Wailea Agricultural Group suggests various ways to prepare the product (see Michael Crowell's fresh Hawaiian heart of palm ahi poke recipe):
- Raw: Thinly sliced, it's great by itself or on a salad with a variety of dressings, such as oil and vinegar or pesto.
- Steamed: The stem portion is delicious steamed in its outer sheath. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the stems. The larger base portion may also be steamed until tender. Both can then be dipped or covered in any sauce.
- Stir-fry: Traditional wok-type cooking brings out the versatility of fresh heart of palm. Toss it in at the end, cut any way you prefer, and it will pick up the flavors of your dish.
Heart of palm is also "really high in things like calcium, magnesium (and) iron," she said.
Fresh Hawaiian heart of palm will be sold throughout the Daiei festival for about $8.98 per 1-pound-package. For inquiries on purchasing the product, call (808) 935-4043.