Bamboo Shoots - Kill or Cure?

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“Can bamboo shoots really be eaten?” my 7 year old child asks, “Yes” I tentantively reply, but my knowledge is poor, so I research. Bamboo shoots can be eaten from certain bamboos, I learn that Bamboo shoots must be peeled and cooked before using. It is important to note that bamboo shoots must not be eaten raw. The first stage after peelins is to trim the roots, peel the outer leaves (sheath leaves), and remove any tough flesh – the young tender leaves can be left attached. The shoots should be cut across the grain into one-eighth inch slices.

The bamboo shoots should then be cooked in boiling water in an uncovered pan for 20 minutes, it is important to leave the pan uncovered as this allows the compounds within the bamboo shoots, that cause the bitter taste to dissipate into the air.

If there is any bitter taste to the shoots after cooking, boil them in fresh water for 5 more minutes. Bamboo shoots can also be microwaved, in an uncovered shallow pan of water for four minutes. Shoots will still be crisp and crunchy after cooking. If you have any bamboo receipes that you would like to share with us visit our forum at

In China and Japan, Phyllostachys heterocycla (also known as Phyllostachys pubescens or P. edulis) is the most popular source of bamboo shoots, but some species require careful preparation as they release lethal quantities of cyanide when cut. Therefore it is important to make sure you have a full understanding of the procedures involved in cooking and preparing your shoots, this article is just an overview of the cooking procedures.

Bamboo shoots have been eaten for many centuries and are great as a healthy substitute to potatoes and other starchy foods and are ideal for weight watchers. An analysis of bamboo shows that it is a great source of vitamins and minerals as well as essential minerals like phosphorus, calcium that is need for healthy bones and teeth, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin c. The low calorific value of bamboo (which is approx 43 calories per 100g) is great for people wanting to use it as part of their weight watching regime.

The bamboo shoots also contain enzymes like nuclease, deamidase, proteolytic enzymes, amylase, amigdalin splitting and silicon splitting enzymes, which are useful in the digestion of proteins within the body.

There are may other uses for bamboo, the leaves are useful in the treatment of stomach upsets, in many parts of india, the leaves of the bamboo are used in the form of decoction to treat diarrohea, they are also useful in encouraging the efficiency of the stomach in the digestion of food.

Other uses include the treatment of respiratory diseases, menstrual disorders, intestinal worms, wounds and ulcers

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