Last weekend, Elaine visited my grandma for a birthday celebration. Guess what? We enjoyed a bamboo shoot celebration. Bamboo shoots are extremely popular forest vegetable ingredient in China for over 2 thousand years. They are very yummy and nourishing. Usually bamboo shoots are available in forest in Spring and Winter.
Small bamboo shoots grow quite fast in Spring after spring rains. And bamboo shoots with shells are harvested when they are around 40cm to 60cm long. Different types of bamboo have various sizes of bamboo shoots. This small and tender bamboo shoots are the most loved ones in my hometown.
After harvest,we peel the shells and get the tender crunchy shoots.
In every Spring, we will harvest a large amount of bamboo shoots. They are healthy and delicious in stir fries, soups or sometimes used in dumpling fillings.
The unshelled bamboo shoots usually aging very quickly, thus a fast and in time blanching is extremely important. The appropriate blanch is very much determined by the type and size of the bamboo shoots, vary from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. But in general, we do not suggest simmering bamboo shoots for a long time. After that, you can cut them into small pieces and use in stir fry recipes. Following is spring bamboo shoot stir fried with pork slice.
Another way to keep the bamboo shoots for long time is to pickle them in jars. We call pickled bamboo shoots as “酸笋”, literally mean sour bamboo shoots. Sour bamboo shoots can give common soup extremely delicious taste. Following is pickled bamboo shoots and duck soup.
A note from Elaine, if you visit China in Spring, make a schedule to a rural home inns providing Spring bamboo shoots. They will be your best food memories.