Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.
Bamboo is a group of tall woody grasses belonging to the family Poaceae and subfamily Bambusoidaceae. A plant that has multiple uses including its use as a food item.
Bamboo is an evergreen, fast-growing and eco friendly plant. Of the about 1575 known bamboo species about 110 are known to be edible.
There are 2 kinds of bamboo: clumpers & runners. Bamboo grows from the underground stem called rhizome which has nodes or the growing points on it.
Some invasive species of runners can sprout almost 30 feet away from the main plant. Because of this one plant can grow into a grove as its rhizomes spread in a network like fashion underground. Some bamboo species can grow over 3 feet in a day.
If you are planting a running type of bamboo it is important to contain its spread by creating a barrier by lining its trench or pit with some high-density polyethene sheet all around and also let it remain a few inches over the soil level. Better still, cement the trench all around.
All parts of the bamboo plant are utilized in one way or the other. From supports/scaffolding to construction, furniture to housing, musical instruments to paper production, and more, bamboo is one plant that is a common factor.
India has 136 bamboo species and next to China is the second most bamboo concentrated country in the world with 125 indigenous species, these being mainly concentrated in the Northeastern part of the country.
Bamboo is indigenous to Asia and has been cultivated for thousands of years.
The bamboo plant flowers only once every 7 to 120 years depending on the species.
Steamed ryoku-chiku (Bambusa oldhamii) shoots
About Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts as they are called are literally the sprouts of a new bamboo plant and these are edible, the inner soft part of this shoot being used.
Bamboo shoots are cone-shaped and are best harvested when 5-6 inches long. The shoot is covered with overlapping scale-like leaves.
Bamboo shoots are harvested before they are 2 weeks old or one foot tall. Also called canes, the bamboo shoots are crisp, tender and are frequently used in Asian cuisine. Though canned ones are frequently eaten, the fresh ones have better flavour and texture.
Bamboo shoots are peeled and cooked before eating as not only are the raw one's bitter tasting and difficult to digest, but these also contain appreciable and toxic amounts of cyanogenic glycosides especially taxiphyllin.
Taxiphyllin readily degrades in boiling water and therefore either soaking the bamboo shoots and/or boiling in water or cooking them removes this toxic substance and makes bamboo shoots safe for consumption.
Boiling bamboo shoots for 20 minutes uncovered removes about 70% HCN while cooking them for 2 hours removes the highest levels of cyanide found in them.
Some bamboo species whose shoots are consumed are:
Phyllostachys edulis, P. bambusoides, P. dulcis, Bambusa oldhamii, B. blumeana, B odishimae and Dendrocalamus latiflorus.
In China, Phyllostachys dulcis is very popular as it has a sweet taste. The species Phyllostachys pubescens is the most commonly harvested for eating. In Japan, it is called mosochiku.
Shoots of the bamboo grown in cooler climates are better tasting than ones grown in tropical climates.
Bamboo shoots are available fresh, dried or canned. Bamboo shoots can be dried and salted and eaten as a snack. They can be added to stir-fries, soups, stews, barbecue or rice.
Before preparing the bamboo shoots, slice them lengthwise in half and remove the outer hard leafy part, until you reach the soft, pale-coloured edible core.
Canned bamboo shoots
Bamboo Growing 101 : Growing Bamboo Shoots for Eating
Gardening Tips : Growing Edible Bamboo Shoots
Growing Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots can be grown quite easily and in a variety of zones. Tender shoots must be harvested before they sprout their tips out of the soil by excavating around the base of the main plant and then excising them with a sharp knife.
If you wish to grow a larger shoot cover the tips with soil. This will help keep them tender as it prevents light from falling on them.
For temperate climates, Phyllostachys nuda, P. platyglossa, P. nidularia, P. hindii, P. dulcis and P. vivax are suitable while the Semiarundinaria fastussa and Qiongzhuee tumidissinoda have delicious tasting shoots.
In China, besides Phyllostachys dulcis, P. praecox, P. heterocycla and P. iridescens are most often grown edible bamboo shoots.
When planted for food, they are planted close together, and, usually, these are grown from rhizomes as bamboo seeds are harder to procure from nurseries or by mail order.
Water the bamboo regularly and for faster growth plant them in less dense, sandy soil. Spreading a layer of mulch over the soil around the bamboo will retain moisture longer. This is especially useful in useful dry climates.
Bamboo Shoots Nutrition
- Contains over 90% water
- Among vegetables, it is the highest source of protein and contains 17 amino acids 8 of which are the essential amino acids
- Lower in sugar than many fruits and vegetables
- Negligible sodium
- Low in fat & calories. 100 grams of bamboo shoots provide just 27 calories and 1 gram of fat
- High in fibre. 100 grams provide 6% of the daily requirement
- Good levels of potassium, about 11% of daily needs in 100 grams
- Contains phytochemicals like lignans and phenolic acids
- Contains several B complex vitamins, especially high levels of vitamin B6 and B1.
- Contains several minerals like copper, manganese, zinc, iron and phosphorus in good amounts
- Contains good amounts of vitamin C & E.
Bamboo Shoots Nutritional Values
|Bamboo shoots, raw,|
Nutrition value per 100 g.
ORAC value 2150
(Source:USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots
The lignans in bamboo provide anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal benefits while the phenolic acids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
The fibre in bamboo shoots helps control not only constipation but also cholesterol levels by binding to them and aiding in their removal. It also reduces the risk of colon and rectal cancer.
Potassium levels in bamboo shoots help in regulating both the heart rate and blood pressure.
Being nutritionally rich and low in fat and weight increasing components like sugar and calories, bamboo shoots help control weight gain and even help in losing weight.
The low-fat levels help in preventing the development of plaque in arteries thus helping to keep the heart healthy as well, also helping to keep the BP low.
The various antioxidants and vitamins strengthen the immune system.
The anti-inflammatory property of bamboo shoots helps soothe and heal wounds and ulcers.
It has been found that a decoction of the tender bamboo shoots is helpful in treating respiratory diseases. Take it with a tbsp of honey.
Bamboo leaf decoction also kills intestinal worms and stimulates and regulates menstrual periods as well.
A decoction of bamboo shoots mixed with palm jaggery taken once or twice daily for a week induces abortion during the first month of pregnancy. The same used in the last month of pregnancy induce labour.
Post-delivery, the decoction helps ease the expulsion of the placenta and checks excessive blood loss.
Bamboo shoots phytosterols flavones, amylase and chlorophyll help in fighting and controlling cancer.
Bamboo extracts help counter snake and scorpion bites.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
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How to Cook Fresh Bamboo Shoots
Stir Fried Bamboo Shoots with Shiitake Mushrooms
Authentic Bamboo Shoot Curry
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 11, 2018:
Thank you for appreciating the information, Peggy.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2018:
I enjoy eating bamboo shoots in Oriental food. I had no idea that the plant bloomed so infrequently or that when raw it contains cyanide. You always teach me something new when I read your articles.
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 13, 2016:
Ms.Dora- I'm glad you found my hub interesting enough to try out bamboo shoots. Hope you can lay your hands on some soon. Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 12, 2016:
Among the most interesting of your articles, to me. I should try some bamboo shoots; I don't know where to find them but I'd keep my eyes open. Thank you.
Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 10, 2016:
@Shaloo, I have not seen fresh bamboo shoots being sold in the North though canned ones are available. Thanks for reading my hub.
@Devika, glad you like the recipes. Thanks for stopping by.
@Bill, your comments and visit are always appreciated. Thanks my friend!
@Blond, yes indeed, these clumpers can become a headache if not contained. Good to know you enjoyed reading the hub. Thank you.
@tebo, I'm sure you will. Thank you.
@Madan, thanks for the thumbs up.
@manatita, thanks for this info on bamboo. It's certainly a unique plant with innumerable uses. I much appreciate your comments bro. Take care.
manatita44 from london on April 10, 2016:
Very nice article and Hub on the uses and significance of bamboo. We use it in the caribbean and I'm beginning to think that some plants must have come over during the slave trade of some 250-300 years ago.
I got some for detox and clearing poisons here in NY. In a different way, bamboos feature highly in many Chinese movies, particularly in mystical ones. At Christmas, we use them as flutes and drums in the caribbean.
MG Singh emge from Singapore on April 09, 2016:
Well presented Rajan. Lots of information as well
tebo from New Zealand on April 09, 2016:
Another hub full of interesting information. Although I voted to say I hadn't tried bamboo shoots I am sure I have in fact eaten them in Indian or Asian cuisine without registering what they taste like. I will take note next time.
Mary Wickison from USA on April 09, 2016:
You sir are a mind reader. I have two types of bamboo growing here and was wondering if I could eat the shoots.
We have the clumper type and even those are a nightmare to get rid of. We love the look of them but they are invasive and the amount of leaves, is staggering.
Before anyone plants them they should know the amount of work entailed. The root network is vast.
Excellent topic and useful hub.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 09, 2016:
I learn something new every single day, if I'm open to the learning. I've actually grown bamboo before, but knew nothing about actually eating it....thank you for a wonderful learning experience.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 09, 2016:
I like bamboo Shoots you enlightened me on new recipes and of the facts of a healthy food.
Shaloo Walia from India on April 09, 2016:
The recipes look yummy! I don't think these dishes would be available in Northern part of the country.