As a chef, it’s becoming more important to keep up with the food trends of the world. Aussies are eating out at restaurants, cafes, pubs, and clubs more than they ever have and the demand for healthy food is at an all-time high. The average consumer isn’t going to settle for the classic bacon & eggs combo anymore and as the wise sage Homer Simpson once said, “You don’t make friends with salad”….but it seems that now, we all are.
According to Australian Food News, “the ethos of consuming more fruit and vegetables for the sake of our health will be prevalent…”with the trend set for 2019 Nutrition – ‘food as ‘medicine’. The common saying, ‘you are what you eat,’ has never been more widespread than it is in today’s society.
When designing a menu, or exploring new ingredients, it’s important to consider future food trends. We recently caught up with Becky Miwako, owner of Big Heart Bamboo and learned about Bamboo Shoots, a product you may want to consider due to the vast health benefits.
Considered as a “rich man’s delicacy throughout many Asian countries, the plant itself can live up to 200 years. There are over 1,250 Bamboo Shoot species; however, only a small percentage are edible. If these bad boys are left unsupervised (and by that we mean uncut), they can grow up to 30m in just a few short months. Fresh Bamboo Shoots are very bitter, so it’s essential they are boiled in salted water for around 8-10 minutes before eating. Commonly used in Asian dishes like stir-fries and curries their crunch-like texture provides a beautiful savoury flavour highly appreciated by most vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
So what are the health benefits? Firstly, Bamboo Shoots are a good source of protein and are rich in the B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and it has been suggested that Bamboo Shoots help with weight loss and boosting your immune system. Additionally, found in the oil of the plant is something called ‘Phytosterols’ a cholesterol-lowering agent, which can assist in cardiovascular health. And if that wasn’t enough for you, this magical piece of produce is also said to contain anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, anti-ageing, and assist with anti-fatigue. Whoah, we’re impressed.
Bamboo Shoots are not only great to eat, but also provide a fantastic habitat for wildlife, and they produce a tremendous amount of oxygen. They act as a ‘carbon sink’ and can absorb up to two times the amount of Co2 as a similar stand of hardwood forests. Additionally, the plant carries anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties, which means there is no need for any harsh sprays, chemicals or pesticides.
There are two overarching species of bamboo, they are Running (invasive) and Clumping (non-invasive). The top six species at Big Heart Bamboo with these two overarching species is Phyllostachys Bambusoides (Madake), Phyllostachys Pubescens (Moso), Bambusa Oldhamii, Bambusa Balcooa, Dendrocalamus Asper, and Dendrocalamus Latiflorus. As with all produce, availability of species comes down to seasonality and the weather, so if you’re interested in including Bamboo Shoots on your menu, keep this in mind and feel free to ask us any questions!
It’s not just the delectable array of fresh bamboo varieties on offer from Big Heart Bamboo, they also stock ready to eat pickled bamboo shoots and Becky has also created Apple Cider Vinegar, Tumeric & Ginger Pickled Bamboo Shoots’.
This is one health trend we’re keen to see thrive in 2019!!