Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of many bamboo species including Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths. They are sold in various processed shapes and available in fresh, dried, and canned versions.
Shoots of several species of bamboo are harvested for consumption:
- Phyllostachys edulis -Produces very large shoots up to 2.5 kilos. The shoots of this species are referred with different names depending on when they are harvestedPhyllostachys bambusoides -Produces shoots that are slender and long with firm flesh. Commonly consumed fresh or made into dried bamboo shoots
- Winter shoots Smaller in size up to 1 kg in weigh per harvested shoot. The flesh is tender and palatable and commercially quite important and harvested in November and December in Taiwan.
- Mao shoots Larger in size, but due to its toughness and bitter taste, it is generally used to make dried bamboo shoots. Harvested between March and May in Taiwan.
- Dendrocalamus latiflorus-Produces shoots that are large with flesh that is fiberous and hard. As such, they are suitable mainly for canning and drying.
- Bambusa oldhamii -Produces valuable shoots that are large with tender and fragrant flesh. They are usually sold fresh and in season between late spring and early fall. Their availability depend on local climate. These shoot are also available in cans when not in season.
- Bambusa odashimae -Considered similar to B. oldhamii, but highly prized due to its crisp flesh similar to Asian pears. Produced mainly in Taitung and Hualian and consumed fresh.