Digging Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo Shoots

Have you ever eaten fresh bamboo shoots? It’s nothing like the canned products you can find in a Chinese grocery! In recent years, the wild boar get to them before we can. The number of boar is increasing and they destroy so much farm produce, can scale fences over 1 meter tall and dig under one too.

Hiroo is the one who can dig these shoots. They are 90% hidden under the ground, so there is a trick to digging one up without breaking it in half. In the early morning, he walks over the mountain keeping a close eye out for bamboo shoots.

Yesterday morning, however, Hiroo came down the mountain with a huge basket of freshly-dug bamboo shoots! I didn’t have a big enough pan to boil  all those so he built a fire and I sat and fanned it . I boiled them for a good 40 minutes, then peeled them  and put into cold water. They’ll keep about a week in the refrigerator. We have enough to share with everyone!!

You can use these in stir-fry or simmer with soy sauce, dashi stock and mirin with a little katsuobushi flakes mixed in. That is how I fixed it last night.

It took a large part of the morning to get this done, but it is a unique experience we have only this time of year. The seasons are clearly defined and each season brings its own bounty: chestnuts and pears in early fall, mikan and oysters in winter, wild mountain vegetables in spring.

Hiroo implanted mushroom “bacteria” in logs and now it is warm and producing big thick shiitake mushrooms like the one in this photo! These logs will give us mushrooms for about 3 years, then we start again with new logs.

"Farmer Grows Gigantic Mushroom"

I like to slice these, saute in oil and then dip into soysauce with a few flecks of shichimi pepper ( or cayenne)


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beckynielsen
    Apr 14, 2012 @ 00:11:47

    How great that you can get these things from the mountain and by implanting logs! I really like the idea of cooking in rhythm with the seasons. My first husband’s parents grew up on farms and that’s where I learned a lot about this practice – catching herring to pickle and collect roe in the spring, gathering morel mushrooms, keeping gardens that provided for the table and the pantry, butchering in the fall and making the hams and sausage, etc. I don’t do more than gather our vegetables from our community farm and freeze what I can’t use right away now, but am grateful for those early lessons.


  2. leahmama1
    Apr 15, 2012 @ 08:09:49

    That sounds so wonderful. To pickle your own herring and make your own ham and sausage! I want to try that!! You had a great childhood! Few people today have had those experiences. Reading about each of the things you mentioned evoked beautiful pictures in my mind! I wish I could go and visit you then!!


  3. todaysillustrationtomorrow
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 16:47:42

    This looks great! I really like the texture of the bamboo shoots. I always felt that the it had an “adult taste” that i couldn’t quite appreciate growing up, but I’m sure I would enjoy it more now. Plus, fresh ones are on another level. can you make Memma with it? That stuff people put in ramen? Rob loves memma. If you have extra you don’t know what to do with, please make memma and you can bring it to us when u come visit 🙂


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