a hand is pealing baboo shoots

What Does Bamboo Taste Like?

You can’t eat all the parts of the bamboo. Like many grass-type trees, bamboos have a limitation when it comes to consuming it. Humans are only limited to eating the shoots of bamboo. Bamboo shoots are the inside part of bamboo that comes out when the outer shell is peeled off. 

But does eating the shoot really worth it? How tasty the bamboo shoot can be? 

Bamboo shoots are popular for having a distinct taste; they have an earthy taste with a bit of nuttiness. They have a fairly sweet taste and you’ll feel the crunchiness of a bamboo shoot even after cooking it. You can use a bamboo shoot as an alternative to water chestnuts in various recipes.

In this article, you’re going to know about everything about how bamboo is a human food item. Let’s get started! 

How Does It Feel to Eat Bamboo Shoot?

simmered dishes of bamboo shoot

Bamboo shoots will be delicious eating food if you can prepare them with the proper instructions.

First of all, bamboo shoot themselves feels grassy. There are some species of bamboo shoots named “Sweetshoot type” which have a big sweet type taste. These shoots are found in Sweet shoot bamboo (Often called Phyllostachys Dulcis) and Phyllostachys Vivax. But most other bamboo shoots are grassy if you cook them raw without any ingredients.

If you buy canned bamboo shoots, those often contain tasty ingredients that make the bamboo shoot appealing out of the can. 

The white-shoot part of the bamboo is often similar to fresh artichokes. They almost taste similar but the difference is that, in terms of bamboo shoots, you can eat the white parts but for artichokes, only petals are edible. Although the texture of the bamboo shoot really makes it a good meal compared to artichokes.

Some bamboo eaters often describe it as a nutritious food with the right amount of nuttiness in it. Its earthly taste with the hint of nuttiness makes it fall between vegetables and fruits.

Adding it to your dish will bring out a good natural flavor from it and will bring a clear texture to your food. The crunch and sweetness (depending on what bamboo you use) will also give your food a refreshing flavor. 

In one sentence we can say, bamboo’s overall taste is pretty mild compared to what you eat every day. The palettes are tasteless; you can have those unrefined when you taste bamboo from boiling water. The best two-word substitute for bamboo shoot taste will be grassy vanilla.

Things You Should Know Before Eating Bamboo 

panda eating bamboo shoot
The ones human eats are not the same as Panda!

As you already learned, eating bamboo doesn’t mean eating the outside green part of this water tree. For instance, consider coconut. You have to break the outer shell of the coconut to get water and coconut flesh. In the same way, the outer shell of the bamboo needs to be removed in order to get the edible shoots of the bamboo.

Note that, not all types of Bamboo species are edible. So the tastes of the bamboo shoots usually differ depending on the bamboo species.

There are almost 1718 bamboo species around the world of which, only 101 type species are being recorded as edible by humans.

It’s not like other species aren’t edible, you can also eat them but you may find the delicious taste like those 101 species.

Moreover, some of the bamboos are poisonous too. But whatever type of bamboo you eat, you need to prepare it carefully, especially boil it well so that it doesn’t contain any harmful material. If you’re familiar with cyanogen glycosides, then you should know that bamboo shoots sometimes contain this.

Boiling them removes the potential toxic amounts from it and you can then have them freely.

Which Bamboo Species Are Edible?

Experts suggest that, as long as you are ensured that the bamboo doesn’t contain any toxic element, you are free to eat it. Usually the longer the bamboo will be, the better it is to eat.

Long bamboos usually are edible and for a bigger meal, you should always choose a long bamboo. If you plant big-sized timbered bamboo instead of buying readymade bamboo from the shop, then our recommendations will be to check out this chart of ours.

This is a list of Bamboo that are approved by different universities for cooking and eating by taking proper precautions. 

Name of the bambooCommon NameAbout this bamboo
    Bambusa oldhamii    Giant Timber Bamboo(Good for a Family of 4-5 for a regular meal)This is the most common type of bamboo that is grown in almost any place of the world. This widely-known bamboo specie grows longer than usual bamboo. If you look into tropical and sub-tropical places, you’ll easily find them there because these are native to those climates.It’s crispy and tender, and it has a corn-like taste.You don’t need to worry about these taking large places in your backyard and they also add a nice touch to your garden.
   Bambusa malingensis   Seabreeze(Best edible bamboo for  selling purposes)It’s a clumping type of bamboo that usually grows in china. The native weather and sub-tropical parts of Asia allow it enough room to grow preciously. You can usually get these in the coastal areas which is why Florida and California are the prime places to get this bamboo.The shoots are fibrous, crunchy, and starchy-tasting.
     Bambusa textilis gracilis     Graceful Bamboo(one of the fastest growing bamboos)This is a great edible bamboo, in fact, it is one of the most popular bamboos after giant timber bamboo.The shoots of this bamboo are also elegant and upright which gives a pleasant feeling when you start preparing it for food. They have a soft, creamy taste. Like its name, it gives a pleasant vibe throughout your entire meal, producing a wonderful sense of green canopy. 
  Chimonobambusa quadrangularis  Squire Bamboo (Exotic, guest serving bamboo)It’s a unique experience bamboo due to its shape. This bamboo has a 4 sided shape, just like its culms. You can have a square-type meal with this bamboo. This bamboo falls under the exotic category which makes it hardly available in every place. If you are really a bamboo meal lover, you must try this.
  Phyllostachys edulis  Moso Bamboo(Good for 6+ family members)This is one of the most popular bamboos in China and Taiwan. But in China, it is widely used for textile production. In Taiwan however, it is used for edible shoots. Its shoots are used as vegetables in Asian dishes and broths.

Recipes You Can Try Using Bamboo shoots

As we spoke earlier, a proper cooking method will make the bamboo shoot much more attractive and delicious on the table. Different continents cook the shoot in different processes. 

Below we are going to talk about 2 recipes that not only will make the bamboo shoot tasty but also will put positive well-being to everyone.

Bamboo Shoot, Mushroom, and Long Bean Stir-Fry:

Time needed to prepare: Total 15-16 mins (depending on the stove heat)

Ingredients:

  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Dried chilies de Arbol or dried cayenne chilies
  • King oyster mushrooms
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/3 lb. long beans, 1-inch length
  • Cooked bamboo shoots, cut lengthwise
  • Low-sodium soy sauce 

Cooking process

  • First you need to heat the oil in medium-high heat. Then put the chilies in the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant comes out.
  • Put some mushrooms in it and cook it for 7 to 9 minutes. Look for if the moisture is evaporated. Stir the carrots in it, and cook it for two minutes.
  • Then put long beans in your cook and cook it for 3 to 4 minutes. In the final stage put bamboo shoots and stir-fry them for 3 minutes.
  • Stir the soy sauce in it and cook for a minute.

Boiled Fresh Bamboo Shoots:

soft boiled bamboo shoot

Time needed to prepare: Total 55-60 mins (depending on the stove heat)

Ingredients:

  • Dried rice bran powder (Nuka)*- 1/3 cup
  • Dried whole Asian chili peppers- 2 (small-sized)
  • Fresh bamboo shoots- 2-3 

Cooking Process:

  • Take a deep pot and place the bamboo shoots in it. Now, add chili peppers, rice bran, and water to it. Make sure to use enough water to cover the shoots..
  • Ideally, the shoots will fit snugly in the bottom of your pot keeping enough headroom. Turn a colander upside down and keep the shoots submerged in the bubbling liquid. 
  • Spend around 45-50 minutes cooking the shoots. Once the cooking is done, rinse the excess rice bran below the running water.

The Health Benefits of Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots are often called “The Poor Man’s Timber” or “The Plant with Thousand Faces” because it was used for medical purposes in ancient china. Back in 618 – 907 AD, Chinese people used Bamboo shoots in their medical books mentioning how good it is for health.

Here are some mentionable health benefits you can expect from bamboo shoots.

  • An ideal food choice to mitigate diabetics.
  • Sodium and iron in bamboo shoots can make your bones stronger.
  • Shields the heart from various cardiac diseases.
  • Exhibits anti-viral, anti-cancerous, and antibiotic properties.
  • It increases the tissue intensities of hydroxyproline (an important element to keep the skin healthy)

FAQs

Can I eat bamboo shoots daily?

Many studies in the current times revealed that bamboo shoot contains a healthy amount of antioxidants, with phenolic compounds. This helps to fight free radicals and shows antibiotic and anti-viral properties along with anti-cancerous properties. So if you daily recap to eat shoots daily, then you will get benefits from its Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, and lots of other healthy nutrition.

Is it ok for children to eat bamboo shoots?

Yes, bamboo shoots are recently tagged with a new “superfood” which is really good for children and adults. Children can get a lot of vitamin and mineral benefits from bamboo shoots. But do keep in mind that, young shoots from young bamboo trees are much more beneficial for them. 

Is it ok to eat raw bamboo shoots?

No, you can’t eat raw bamboo shoots. The bamboo shoots need to be cut away till their exterior fiber and then it needs to be boiled in the water to be eaten. Or else raw bamboo shoots might kill someone with its toxin. Bamboo produces its own cyanide in the gut area.  

Conclusion

Bamboo shoots are very popular in many parts of the world, and among them, the most popular bamboo eaters are China and Japan.

Bamboo shoots can be mixed with any other foods easily but mixing them with vegetable cook will give your vegetable recipe an extra crunchy feel. It will also give the vegetable a pleasantly crisp texture on it.

Although some people may stay concerned about its toxicity called Taxiphyllin, this isn’t a major issue from our research. Because you can easily remove the toxicity by boiling the bamboo shoot (About 150 °F) in freshwater.

There is no fear of it. If you are a water chestnut fan, you will be good to go with bamboo because it can bring the same crunchy flavor to any food that uses chestnut.

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