Bamboo and bamboo products are no strange stuff in Asia countries and some other regions. People use them for many different purposes in their daily lives.
When it comes to the culinary aspect, many still have doubts about this special species. So, is bamboo edible or is it toxic? If you are wondering about this question, do not ignore the following interesting information.
Is Bamboo Edible?
Bamboo grows easily and quickly in almost any soil type. Since ancient times, people have used bamboo parts for various purposes, even in cooking. Yes, bamboo is edible, but only bamboo shoots, not big bamboo.
Bamboo shoots are young bamboo shoots that have just sprouted from the ground. It grows from the rhizomes of mature bamboo plants and has a crunchy texture.
Most types of bamboo shoots are edible. Because the outer shell is hard and difficult to chew, people need to remove it and use only the white, porous texture inside. Normally, a bamboo shoot after peeling is only the size of a corn cob.
This food is rich in potassium, fiber and is low in calories and fat. They contain a high amount of vitamins, potassium, amino acids, fiber, antioxidants, etc.
Bamboo shoots also have a mild flavor and are easy to combine with other foods to make different dishes. For those reasons, they have long been a familiar food in many cuisines.
Is Bamboo Toxic?
Like we have mentioned, bamboo shoots are delicious and contain many nutrients. Every year, people consume more than 2 million tons of bamboo shoots.
Despite that, bamboo shoots also contain potentially toxic compounds. According to the research results of food experts, bamboo shoots contain toxins such as cyanogenic glycosides (taxiphyllin), HCN (the cause of their bitter taste).
In addition, the cyanide content in fresh bamboo shoots is as high as 25 mg.kg-1, and in dried or processed ones is about 5.3 mg.kg-1. Remember that the lethal cyanide dose is 0.5–3.5 mg.kg-1, which means 25–175 mg of cyanide in bamboo shoots is enough to kill an adult man.
Cyanide poisoning often includes fatigue, nausea, headache, confusion, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, seizures, and even cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, if you experience abnormal signs after eating bamboo shoots, you should immediately contact medical facilities.
Still, the key point is whether a person gets poisoned or not depends on the cooking method. By this, we mean you CAN remove cyanide from bamboo shoots. Continue reading!
How To Remove Cyanide From Bamboo Shoots?
Out of 1000 species of bamboo shoots, only 110 can be used. The cyanide content is the biggest threat to bamboo shoots lovers. Still, there’s always a solution.
The simplest and most ideal way to remove cyanide from bamboo shoots is to boil or cook them. Half an hour of boiling bamboo shoots at 98–102°C can help you remove up to 70% of the cyanide. By boiling them for two hours, you can remove over 90% of this poison.
Before boiling it, make sure to remove the outer skin and wash it. We only need the white core for this process. Next, put the white core in the pot, bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat, and continue cooking for another 30-60 minutes.
Do change the water and wash the bamboo shoots every 20-30 minutes, as this step helps prevent the bamboo shoots from absorbing the toxins back into it.
Another method to remove cyanide is to soak bamboo shoots. After pre-processing and washing, put bamboo shoots in a jar with a mixture of vinegar and filtered water in a ratio of 1: 1.
Feel free to leave them whole or sliced to soak them. You can even add garlic or chili for more flavor.
Is Bamboo Poisonous To Pets?
Many plants poison pets, but bamboo doesn’t. The fresh green color of bamboo helps our little friends feel more relaxed and comfortable.
However, be careful with Lucky Bamboo and Heavenly Bamboo. Outwardly, they look quite like normal bamboo, but they are not bamboo. These two plants will make your dog and cat feel uncomfortable in the intestines, dilate pupils, drool, and increase heart rate. There are also additional symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, etc.
How Can Pandas Eat Bamboo?
With wider capabilities than humans, pandas won’t go extinct from eating bamboo no matter how high the cyanide content they put into their bodies.
Studies have shown that pandas are more resistant to cyanide than humans. These animal’s bodies can neutralize cyanide, which means they are not susceptible to diseases even if they eat fresh bamboo every day.
On average, a panda absorbs more than 65% of the cyanide in its ration per day, but its body can convert 80% of it into a substance called thiocyanate. Therefore, this is a weak chemical poison, and raccoons can excrete them through urine.
What Bamboo Species Can I Eat?
Cyanide exists in all bamboo species, and only 10% of them are edible. Nevertheless, the toxin content and flavor of each species are different. Here are some types of edible bamboo:
- Bambusa Oldhamii: People call it the sweet edible shoot because it tastes like cane sugar.
- Asper Bamboo: It is less bitter than other brothers, so people often use it for salads.
- Taiwan Giant Bamboo: This bamboo type is ideal for pickling.
- Mandrake (pork skin bamboo): Consider using it if you want to cook a roast or tapas.
- Moso Bamboo: It is a fairly common type of bamboo, often present in Sushi Nigiri recipes.
Benefits Of Eating Bamboo Shoots?
Many studies show that bamboo shoots bring more benefits than you think because it’s a nutritious food.
Support Weight Loss
The content of sugar, calories, and carbohydrates in bamboo shoots is quite low. It contains only 2.5g of sugar per 100g, less than other vegetables and fruits. This is really good news for those who are losing weight.
Experts have shown that eating bamboo shoots can reduce LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, helping to prevent cardiovascular disorders.
Supplement Potassium For The Body
A can of bamboo shoots provides about 800mg of potassium, while a banana has only 400mg. Bamboo shoots are also richer in potassium than some other vegetables.
Stabilize Hormone Levels
Lignans in bamboo shoots have a stabilizing effect on hormone levels in both women and men.
Verdict – Is Bamboo Edible or Is It Toxic
Is bamboo edible or is it toxic? We believe that after reading this article, you must have found a complete answer for yourself. Don’t worry too much about the toxins. Bamboo is good if you use and store it properly. If you have any questions, just leave us a comment!