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How To Prepare Fresh Bamboo Shoots

Fresh bamboo shoots are a spring delicacy, treasured in traditional Asian cuisines for their delicate sweet flavor and health benefits that include helping weight loss. A symbol of springtime's vitality, bamboo shoots can grow over a foot a day. In order to be edible, the fresh shoots must be dug up before they turn green and bitter. Low in calories and rich in minerals and antioxidants, fresh bamboo shoots taste like a cross between asparagus, artichokes, and hearts of palm. Here is how to prepare them.


Important: Upon arrival, immediately rinse the shoots under cold running water, then submerge the shoots in ice water and refrigerate. The sooner you cook the shoots after receiving them, the sweeter they will taste. If kept too long before cooking, the shoots may develop a bitter taste.

Bamboo shoots are not for raw use.

How to cook the shoots

Instructions for a five pound box of shoots

  • Rinse the shoots to remove any dirt.  Peel the papery outer layers, and trim off the purplish bumps and any discoloration from the base of the shoots.
  • Slit the shoots in half lengthwise and cut the tips off at an angle. (See photos.) Preparing fresh bamboo shoots for cooking  preparing fresh bamboo shoots for cooking
  • Fill an 6 quart pot 2/3 of the way with water. Add one cup of rice bran (called nuka, available at Japanese markets), and two dried red chilies. If you don’t have rice bran, you can use a cup and a half of brown rice instead. You can eat the rice if you want.
  • When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a slow boil and cook the bamboo shoots until tender, about 30 minutes depending on thickness. Test tenderness with a skewer or small knife, like for asparagus. Drain and rinse the bamboo under cold water.
  • Cooked bamboo shoots can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with cold water, for up to a week. Change the water daily to keep the shoots fresh and sweet.
  • The cooked bamboo shoots can be enjoyed out of hand with a favorite dip, added to miso soup, noodle and rice dishes, or in this bamboo shoot and avocado salad.