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THE bamboo shoots they are edible parts of the bamboo plant, able to represent a real one seasonal delicacy in the regions of East Asia, and especially in China, Taiwan, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries.
The bamboo plant generates the first shoots after about 3-4 years from planting: produced by the underlying root system, they are then collected and eaten as a vegetable.
Recall that i bamboo shoots they begin to appear above the soil surface in different seasons depending on the species. When a new young, cone-shaped shoot appears just above the surface of the soil, it is cut from the root attachment, generally with a spade, to then be used in the culinary field.
On the outside, the shoot has several layers of a robust casing of leaves, firmly wrapped around its central heart, the "flesh", of a creamy white color. This valuable substance is the most sought after portion of the bamboo shoot, with one crunchy texture it's a delicate but characteristic flavor. Once boiled and aged, however, it acquires an almost neutral flavor.
What are the health benefits of bamboo shoots
THE bamboo shoots they are one of the most low-calorie vegetables, so much so that 100 grams of their "pulp" contain only 27 calories.
Recall that the bamboo core is composed of moderate levels of soluble and non-soluble dietary fiber, and that a pound of fresh shoots provides 2.2 grams of roughage. Dietary fiber helps control conditions of constipation, to decrease the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) by binding to it in the intestine. Studies suggest that a high-fiber diet can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by protecting the digestive organs from toxic compounds found in food.
Again, remember that bamboo shoots are also rich in group B of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and pantothenic acid, which are essential for optimal cellular and metabolic enzymatic functions.
Bamboo is then rich in minerals, especially manganese and copper. Additionally, it has small amounts of some essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, and phosphorus. On this occasion, it is recalled that manganese is used by the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, and that copper is instead used in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for cellular respiration and the formation of red blood cells.
Finally, the bamboo shoots make up excellent levels of potassium (100 grams of fresh sprouts contain 533 mg or 11% of the potassium levels required daily). It is emphasized that potassium is an important component of cellular and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium.
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How to buy and store bamboo shoots
THE fresh bamboo shoots they are a seasonal delicacy, but in Italy you can frequently buy frozen foods, imported from China, Thailand and Taiwan. Evidently, vacuum-packed or canned bamboo shoots in supermarkets can be available all year round, regardless of the production season.
If you prefer instead buy fresh sprouts, it is good to look for those recently harvested, choosing firm and heavy shoots, with a wide base. Instead, it is better to avoid soft and dry roots. It will be enough to look closely at the base of the shoot and see if it is turning green. The greenish discoloration indicates exposure to sunlight for a long period of time, and a taste tending to bitter.
At home, fresh bamboo should be eaten immediately after harvest to better savor its flavor. Otherwise, you can keep a whole bamboo shoot, not peeled, wrapped in a paper towel and placed inside the refrigerator where it can remain fresh for 1-2 days.
How to prepare and serve bamboo shoots
THE raw bamboo shoots they must be processed before cooking. In particular, the process involves two phases: the peeling of its external part, and the detoxification of its internal meat to eliminate the bitter compounds.
The simplest method for peel the bamboo shoots is to cut them in half lengthwise. Then, peel the outer leaves starting from the base and working towards the tip, eliminating any hard portion at the base. Finally, you can proceed to cut the sprout into cubes to the desired size and immerse the cubes in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from turning brown.
Finally, remember that treating the processed cubes in boiling water can help "detoxify" them. In fact, bamboo shoots contain taxiphyllin, a cyanogenic glycoside, which should be removed before use in the kitchen. Boiling in a bowl of uncovered salt water for about 20 to 25 minutes removes most of these glycosides. Eliminate this water and boil again in fresh water for another 5 - 10 minutes to ensure complete safety.
Are bamboo shoots safe?
In general, i Boiled bamboo shoots are safe to eat and allergic reactions are quite rare. Bamboo shoots contain taxifylline, a cyanogenic glycoside. Cyanide alkaloids inhibit cytochrome oxidase, an essential enzyme in cellular respiration. Overripe shoots and some bamboo varieties have a higher concentration of these glycosides than young, tender and some sweet varieties. Treating tender shoots in boiling water instantly degrades these toxic compounds.
Obviously, in case of doubts it is advisable to speak to your doctor.