BAMBOO SHOOTS: King of Forest Vegetables

A bamboo shoot is the young bamboo plant which has a long history of being used as a source of both food and medicine in China and Southeast Asia. In Japan, the bamboo shoot is called the King of Forest Vegetables.

Young emerging shoot

The bamboo shoot emerges from ground having the final diameter of the culm. There is a short window of time (approximately a couple of weeks) during which the newly-growing shoot should be harvested, typically before it is a foot long. Bamboo shoots usually emerge after the rainy season and are harvested after attaining 20–30 cm height. Also, the shelf life of bamboo shoots is very limited due to its high moisture content (around 90%).

The shoots are not only used as vegetables but are also processed and preserved in many forms such as

  • Dried
  • Fermented
  • Salted
  • Pickled
  • Canned.

Why is it called King?

  • They contain 17 amino acids, 8 of which are essential for the human body . Tyrosine amounts to 57% to 67% of the total amino acid content.
  • The shoots have a good profile ofminerals, consisting mainly of potassium(K), calcium(Ca), manganese (Mn), zinc(Zn), chromium(Cr) copper, iron(Fe), plus lower amounts of phosphorus(P), and selenium.
  • Fresh shoots are a good source of thiamine, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin E
  • Fat content is comparatively low (0.26% to 0.94%) and the shoots contain important essential fatty acids.
  • The total sugar content, 2.5% on average, is lower than that of other vegetables.
  • Bamboo shoots contain phytosterols and a high amount of fiber that can qualify as ―nutraceuticals
  • Because of presence of Phytosterols bamboo shoots have cholesterol-lowering property

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