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Top 6 Bamboo shoots Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Top 6 Bamboo shoots Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Selection and storage

Fresh bamboo shoots are a seasonal delicacy. In the USA, fresh shoots especially frozen, are imported from China, Thailand, and Taiwan. However, vacuum-packed or canned bamboo shoots from supermarkets can be available around the year.

If you are buying a fresh shoot, look for the one harvested recently. Choose firm and heavy sprouts with a wide base. Avoid soft, dry roots. Take a close look at the base of the shoot whether it is turning green. Greenish discoloration indicates exposure to sunlight for a long time, over-mature, and can be bitter in taste.

At home, fresh bamboo should be eaten soon after their harvest to relish their flavor better. Otherwise, keep unpeeled, the whole bamboo shoot wrapped in a paper towel and place inside the refrigerator where it can stay fresh for 1-2 days.

Preparation and serving methods

Raw bamboo shoots from the market should be processed further before adding them to cooking. This whole process involves two steps; peeling its outer tough sheaths and detoxification of its inner meat to remove bitter compounds. One easier method to peel bamboo shoots is to cut them lengthwise into halves. Then peel its outer leaves starting from the base and working on towards its tip. Trim away any tough portion at the base. Then dice the shoot to your desired sizes. Dip the cubes in a bowl of cold water to avoid them turn brown.

Treating the processed cubes in boiling water detoxifies them. Bamboo shoots contain taxiphyllin, a cyanogenic glycoside, which should be removed before using in cooking. Boiling in a bowl of uncovered salted water for about 20-25 minutes removes most of these glycosides. Discard this water and boil again in freshwater for another 5-10 minutes to ensure complete safety.

Here are some serving tips:

Top 6 Bamboo shoots Nutrition facts and Health benefits
Stir fried bamboo shoots.
(Photo courtesy: tuey)

sugar snap peas, bamboo shoots with rice
Sugar snap peas and bamboo shoot stew serving with rice.
Photo courtesy: elsie-hui
  • Bamboo shoots enjoyed sautéed, stir-fried or mixed with vegetables, beans, poultry, or seafood.

  • In Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam bamboo shoots are seasonal delicacies. Varieties of mouth-watering recipes of tender bamboo culms
    prepared in traditional methods.

  • In Thailand, pickled bamboo shoots (sour bamboo shoot pickle) are made use in delicious curries with vegetables and shrimps. Serve this curry along with steamed rice.

  • In China, tender shoots feature in soups, noodles, salads and stir-fries.

  • The shoots called as takenoko are one of the spring specials in Japan. Finely sliced shoots added to salads, stir-fries, or rice
    (takenoko gohan).

Safety profile

In general, boiled bamboo shoots are safe to eat, and allergic reactions are quite rare to occur. Bamboo shoots contain taxiphyllin, a cyanogenic glycoside. Cyanide alkaloids inhibit cytochrome oxidase, an essential enzyme in cellular respiration. Over-matured shoots and certain varieties of bamboo possess a higher concentration of these glycosides than young, tender, and some sweet varieties. Treating the tender shoot in boiling water disintegrates these toxic compounds instantly. (Medical disclaimer).

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Further Reading:

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  2. Cooperative Extension- Washington University.

  3. www.foodstandards.gov.au- Cyanogenic glycosides in cassava and Bamboo-A human Risk Assessment.