The edible shoots of many bamboo species such as Bambusa vulgaris are known as bamboo shoots/sprouts. They are mostly used in Asian cooking, and are a popular ingredient, particularly in Chinese food. They are loved mainly for their crunchy quality and rich aroma. Available in canned, fresh, and frozen forms throughout the year, these sprouts are best bought only in the months of March and April, as bamboo is a vegetable of the spring. It can be pickled, fried, or just had as a plain simple vegetable.
Bamboo Shoots Health Benefits
- The most important aspect about these shoots, that a majority of people are unaware of, is that these are extremely low in calories. 100 grams of sprouts have only 27 calories. Therefore, they are an extremely viable option for people watching their weight.
- It has a very high-fiber content. Thus, it takes care of those hunger pangs that distract us all day. Also, the high-fiber content helps in aiding digestion, curing constipation, therefore, considered to be extremely beneficial for digestive health.
- For those looking for natural remedies to reduce cholesterol levels, look no further. Studies have shown that the consumption of these shoots helps in actively reducing ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in the body, thereby reducing the risk of a potential heart disease.
- These are high in potassium, a mineral that is useful for regulating blood pressure. It is known to lower really high blood pressure. Thus, by consuming these sprouts along with other potassium-rich foods, one can effectively keep a check on the pressure levels of the blood.
- These shoots have antioxidant properties that are useful in fighting cancer and strengthening the overall immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory components that are effective in reducing the risk of potentially severe diseases.
- Fibrous shoots are also known to act as cooling agents for the body. Stems of dwarf bamboo are used to treat urinary tract infections.
- These sprouts have been used traditionally as ingredients in herbal medicines to reduce spasms occurring in the gallbladder.
You can create delicious and exotic meals, not only for yourself, but for your family after learning how to cook them.
- When using fresh shoots, remove the hard cover till you can see the tender portion of the shoots. The basic rule to be followed while cooking is, to first rid them of hydrocyanic acid by boiling them in water for about 20 to 25 minutes and rinsing them thoroughly thereafter.
- Cooked stems can be added to stir-fried food items that include chicken, pork, or tofu.
- These stems can also be added to a salad. However, they need to be cooked for this purpose. A simple recipe is to cook a little spinach in some peanut oil, and toss in thin slices of sprouts with a little salt and pepper.
- Thinly-sliced canned or cooked shoots can be added to any mixed vegetable soup as well.
- Do remember that in order to maintain the crunchiness and nutrients of these stems, it is important that these are the last ingredients to be added to any cooked dish.
- Canned sprouts should be emptied from the can, stored in freshwater, and kept inside the refrigerator. It is essential that the water is changed daily. This way the stems will last for up to two weeks.
Treat yourself to some delicious and crunchy sprouts, and reward yourself with all the marvelous wellness benefits they have to offer. Whether you are a weight watcher, a health and fitness freak, or just someone who enjoys trying out a variety of exotic vegetables, bamboo shoots are just meant for you.