We are now growing bamboo for delicious shoots. You'll find our fresh, locally grown bamboo shoots at early farmers markets in the spring and early summer, typically May through June.
Bamboo shoots are low in fat and calories. One cup of half-inch long slices contains a mere 14 calories and half a gram of fat.
The shoots are a good source of fiber. The same serving size provides about 2.5 grams of fiber; which is approximately 10% of the recommended amount needed in a day. Fiber helps keep cholesterol levels in check and plays a role in preventing colon cancer.
Bamboo shoots are also a good source of potassium - one cup provides 640 milligrams, which is 18% of the daily recommended amount. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral. It helps to maintain normal blood pressure and a steady heart beat. When it comes to phytochemicals, natural substances found in plants, bamboo shoots hold promise. They contain lignans and phenolic acids. Lignans, a component of fiber, exhibit a number of important properties that are undergoing research. Lignans appear to have anticancer, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity. Phenolic acids have mild anti-inflammatory properties and are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent cancer and the blood vessel injury that can start atherosclerosis.
Bamboo shoots add crunchy texture and delicate flavor to meat, fish and vegetable dishes and tend to pick up the flavors they're simmered with. One way on how to cook bamboo shoots, select bamboo shoots that are heavy and firm, with a fresh, firm outer skin. Before you can cook and eat the tender, ivory portion, peel the tough outer skin off. Cut off the tough root end. Put in a pot with enough of the white rinsing water from when you wash rice to cover. The reason why the bamboo shoots are cooked in the rice-washing water or with rice bran is because it helps to get rid of the bitterness in the shoots. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about an hour or more, until it is tender enough to poke a skewer through. Let cool in the water; if you try to peel it while it's still hot, the shoot may split. Any remaining outer skin should now peel off easily. You can then proceed and use the bamboo shoot in various dishes.