Bamboo shoots emerge in a quick, short-lived, and intense flush every spring. Shoots harvested at this time are tender, sweet and mild. Here's a bucket full, freshly kicked down at ground level, about to be split in half and prepared for eating and preserving. If you click on the contact tab at the top of this website, you'll see a photo at the top of what the tender edible heart inside looks like when the shoot is split open (and you can contact me if you like!).
Keep in mind that bamboo shoots need to be boiled for about 45 minutes to an hour and then rinsed first before eating! This dispels toxins that can make you sick. Do not be afraid though. It's an easy process and seriously, there is no comparison between the shoots you get in a can and fresh shoots you've harvested yourself. There are a few other tips for foragers of bamboo in The Chinese Kitchen Garden book (as well as tips for growing and cooking bamboo).
I'm Wendy Kiang-Spray, gardener, home cook, and author of The Chinese Kitchen Garden. Learn more about the book here. Enjoy the blog and be sure to like The Chinese Kitchen Garden Facebook page for notifications when there are new posts.