One of Spring’s pleasures are Bamboo Shoots. Here, young Yellow Grove Bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata) is emerging:
The sizes are variable:
I use a bayonet to cut below ground. Before splitting and cutting off the base, theres soil and knife-dulling fibers at the shoot’s base:
The bottom 2-4 bracts are peeled away by hand to expose soft, soil-free parts:
Next, the bottom is removed and the shoot is split lengthwise:
Now, the inner shoots can be popped out by using your thumbs on the cut side, on either side of the center, and pressing to fold the wrappers backwards. The back side of shoots often has flaky, immature leaves which are removed so you don’t have a bunch of unattractive “plant dandruff” floating around.
Run a knife from tip to base, just scraping/cutting the loose bits off. The shoots are now ready for parboiling.
I put the split shoots in a large pot of boiling water and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Then, I spider out the shoots and put them into a fresh, slightly smaller pot of boiling water for about 4 minutes. Once drained and cooled, they’re ready to put into recipes or to make delicious pickles. I marinate them in a mix of cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Kept in the fridge, they last a long time if you’re generous with the vinegar. You can also season pickles to be similar to marinated artichoke hearts.
Not all species of bamboo make edible shoots! You’ll need to search out that information, once you figure out what you have access to. The shoots should be mild, slightly sweet and free of any bitter or soapy taste. Some types get fibrous quickly and must be harvested at a very small, mostly underground size. The grove I manage provides me with many poles for garden vegetables, too. Constant vigil is needed so the bamboo doesn’t take over! I’ve kept the same size groves (2) for over twenty years.