FOOD AND BEVERAGE
The shoots (new culms that come out of the ground) of bamboo are edible. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, in both fresh and canned versions. The bamboo shoot in its fermented state forms an important ingredient in cuisines across South Asia, East Asia and the South Pacific. It can be fermented with turmeric and oil or boiled with coconut milk and served either as a soup or accompanied with potatoes, rice or vegetables.
Pickled bamboo, used as a condiment, may also be made from the pith of the young shoots and pickled with mustard seeds and turmeric and used alongside many dried beans in cooking.
The empty hollow in the stalks of larger bamboo is often used to cook food in many Asian cultures. Soups are boiled and rice is cooked in the hollows of fresh stalks of bamboo directly over a flame. Cooking food in bamboo is said to give the food a subtle but distinctive taste.
Despite its myriad of uses within the culinary world, it’s safe to assume that bamboo’s most appropriate use is in making bamboo beer. Unlike traditional grains like barley and hops, beer made with bamboo is high quality with several health benefits and the following characteristics:
• obvious bamboo fragrance, refreshing, mellow;
• rich content of bio-flavonoids, better resistance to free radicals and antioxidant properties;
• excellent storage stability and low diacetyl recovery.
Making bamboo beer requires a process of fermenting the rich natural sugars of the plant’s sap. This beverage is naturally enjoyed in Asia where bamboo is plentiful, but is also found extensively in Africa.