Bamboo Shoots, Unprocessed
Unprocessed Bamboo Shoots, whole and cut [probably Phyllostachys edulis]

Unprocessed bamboo shoots are now often available in Southern California. While more trouble to prepare, the flavor of fresh bamboo is superior to vacuum bagged and a lot superior to canned. The photo specimens are a little old. Preferably they should be no darker than the photo specimens. From the shape and structure of the edible shoot, I identify this as P. edulis. The photo specimen at the top was 8 inches long, 3-1/4 inches diameter at the base (average, they are always oval) and weighed 1 [pimd 5-7/8 ounces.

More on Bamboo.


Half Bamboo Shoot, Internal structure The shape and internal structure is much the same as the much large Winter Bamboo, and quite different from the other available bamboo shoots, so I have tentatively identified it as smaller sprouts of Phyllostachys edulis. This specimen is different at the tip because edible sheath bases have been left on.

Buying:   These can often be had from the large Asian markets here in Los Angeles. Price varies from 2017 US $2.99 to $3.99 per pound, depending on market. Ideally, the color should be lighter than the photo specimen. Examine the bottom, the less dried out the better, but there definitely should be no trace of mold.

Storage:   Basically, don't. They're already a bit old by time they get here, but can be held a day or two at room temperature, or a little longer loosely bagged and refrigerated.

Prep:

  1. Cut about 1/4 inch off the bottom.
  2. Strip off all the brown sheaths as has been done to the examples. Sheaths at the tip with no brown can be left.
  3. I usually then cut them in half lengthwise to expose the chambers and speed detox.
  4. Put them in a pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, then keep at a fast simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered so the cyanide can escape easily. No, it isn't going to gas you to death if you're boiling less than a ton or so.
  5. You will probably have to trim a little more off the base if it is hard. The feel of a cut will inform you if you need to cut more.

Yield:   Edible yield from 2 shoots weighing 33-1/2 ounces was 14-3/4 ounces or 44%. I have had yields as high as 50% with shoots from other purchases. It probably depends on season.

Cooking:   Just do as the recipe says. Further cooking is not really necessary once they've been simmered.

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