Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bamboo Shoots

There is an estimated 1,500 species of bamboo in the world. Bamboo is classified in the grass family (Poaceae). Under ideal conditions and when young, bamboo can grow a meter per day! This is because it has evolved to be very competitive for sunlight. Whenever a big tree fall or whenever something else happens that creates sunlight on the jungle floor, it is a race to see which plant can take advantage. Bamboo often wins.

Bamboo would primarily occur on natural edges (lakes, streams, etc) otherwise.
Bamboo shoots are edible, but they contain Cyanide alkaloids. This poison inhibits cellular respiration, so consumption is dangerous.

Luckily, it is water soluble. The way to process the poison out is to boil the YOUNG shoots (older shoots cannot effective be processed in the same manner) is saltwater. Boil for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. Pour the water off and repeat the process for another 15 - 20 minutes. Get rid of the water.

The downside to this process is, of course, that there is a loss of water soluble nutrients as well. Vitamin C and the B vitamins are mostly lost; however, some remains.

Nutritional value per 100 grams:
> 5 grams of carbohydrate
> 2.5 grams of protein (essential amino acids)

Also present are Sodium, a lot of Potassium (>500 Mg), and the minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, a bit of Zinc and a few trace elements.

Too mature for consumption

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