How long do bamboo shoots last? Tips to keep them fresh

They are thin, fat, long, and short, they contain cyanide, but they are delicious. They are mainly used in Asian food. Yes, you got it; it’s the ubiquitous bamboo shoot. If you love Chinese food, you will have eaten bamboo shoots many times and enjoyed the fresh crunch of this incredibly nutritious vegetable that, if left to its own devices, can grow to over 100 feet tall.

Did you know that bamboo is grass? If you want to drop some pounds shortly, add bamboo shoots to your diet, they are sweet but low in calories and full of fiber to keep you feeling full between meals.

With fresh bamboo shoots becoming available in stores, there is a question of how long the bamboo shoots last. In this article, we look at bamboo shoots to find out if they have a long shelf life and if the shelf life can be extended. We answer many frequently asked questions providing you with factual information.

Let’s get into it.

Do bamboo shoots expire?

Bamboo shoots do expire. The bamboo shoot looks like a hard vegetable, and you would be right in thinking it could last some time, but the truth is fresh bamboo shoots have a relatively short shelf life despite their robust appearance.

Some of you may think that bamboo shoots are wood, and they would be correct if the shoots had matured, but bamboo shoots are succulent despite the crunch.

If you are fortunate to buy fresh bamboo shoots, they will last for two weeks in the fridge, which may pressure you to process them pretty quickly when you get them home.

You may have seen on TV that people take bites out of fresh bamboo shoots. Don’t be tempted to do this. Bamboo contains cyanide that will develop in your stomach if eaten raw.

In contrast to fresh bamboo shoots that need to be processed and prepared for cooking to eliminate the cyanide contained within the plant, there is the canned bamboo shoot. If you are new to bamboo shoots, the canned variety will be the best starting place.

Canned bamboo shoots are glorious. They retain the unique flavor profile and crunch that lovers of Chinese dishes crave.

The fantastic news is that canned bamboo shoots have a shelf life of up to 5 years unopened if stored correctly.

However, once the can of bamboo shoots is open, the shelf life plummets like a sinking rock to the ocean floor. The shelf life of an open can of bamboo shoots is just 3 to 4 days stored in a glass or plastic airtight container in the fridge.

There are many ways of preserving fresh bamboo shoots when they have been cooked from fermentation, pickling, and dehydration.

Do bamboo shoots need to be refrigerated?

Yes, if they are fresh or in an open can of bamboo shoots. 

Fresh bamboo shoots should be stored in the fridge. They have a shelf life of 2 weeks. After this, they are deemed garbage and should be thrown away.

However, once you have processed the fresh bamboo shoots, the bamboo shoots are ready for cooking. Once the bamboo shoots have been cooked, drained, and left to cool, they can last in the fridge for several days.

Cooked bamboo shoots should be placed in a glass container with sealable lids or something like Tupperware with sealable lids and stored in the fridge. Only store cool bamboo shoots in the fridge.

An unopened can of bamboo shoots can be stored in the fridge if this is your preferred way of stirring cans, but it’s not necessary.

Unopened cans will have a long shelf life in the pantry or kitchen cabinets away from direct sunlight and a heat source such as a radiator.

When the canned bamboo shoots are open, the shelf life is short, and they will last for 3 to 4 days if stored correctly in the fridge.

Do bamboo shoots need to be covered in the fridge?

Fresh uncooked bamboo does not need to be covered, but you can keep it in a polythene bag or the packaging from the grocery store.

Freshly cooked bamboo should be placed in an airtight container in the fridge for up to but not exceeding seven days.

An open can of bamboo shoots be transferred from the can to a sealable container and should be covered in the fridge.

The reason to cover the bamboo is it’s delicate after being cooked, and it could absorb some of the more pungent odors from the fridge, such as garlic and onion, so keep it covered for the best-tasting product.

Can you put warm bamboo shoots in the fridge?

If you read online that you can’t put warm bamboo shoots in the fridge because of condensation coalescing into water droplets that will drip and make your bamboo shoots soggy and less appealing at best is why you can’t put the warm bamboo shoots in the fridge, you are being misled.

Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower. Placing warm bamboo shoots in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat.

Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your bamboo shoots. It is the contents of the entire fridge.

Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.

Seems harsh? According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.

Furthermore, the bamboo shoots should be covered in the fridge so there will be no condensation!

How long can warm-cooked bamboo shoots sit out?

Two hours. Remember the food danger zone? According to the USDA, perishable goods sitting out for two hours should be discarded, and the bacteria growth on the food has multiplied rapidly, making the food unfit for consumption.

Eating food sitting out for two hours or more could cause food poisoning.

Do unopened bamboo shoots go bad?

If you have not peeled the outer tougher part of the bamboo, it will still last for two weeks in the fridge and does not provide further protection to extend the shelf life of the bamboo shoots.

An unopened can of bamboo shoots will last for a long time. The expiration date on the can be disregarded as the contents should be perfect for consuming five years or longer after you purchase the canned bamboo shoots.

However, there is a caveat: the canned bamboo shoots should not exhibit signs of leakage, with no dents or dings in the cam. No rust masks on the can, and finally, no swelling. If the can exhibits any of the above, it should be discarded immediately.

How long do bamboo shoots last in the fridge?

Bamboo shoots shelf lifeRoom TemperatureRefrigeratorFreezer
Fresh Raw Bamboo Shoots Shelf life7 Days14 DaysNot Recommended
Cooked Bamboo Shoots shelf life2-3 Hours7  Days Once Ripe3 to 6 Months
Canned Bamboo Shoots shelf life5 Year after Expiry Date3 to 4 Year after openingNot Recommended

Do frozen bamboo shoots go bad?

Bamboo shoots have a fibrous texture that does not lend itself to freezing. Fresh bamboo shoots will become harder and may not be edible after a specific time, so they must be cooked before they can be frozen.

Canned bamboo shoots have such a long shelf life unopened; it’s not worth the hassle to freeze them, and let’s face it. They are not what you would consider an expensive grocery item.

You can follow this method for freezing freshly cooked bamboo shoots.

How to freeze bamboo shoots

  1. Prepare and cook the bamboo shoots. To prepare the bamboo shoots, you will need to remove the outer fibrous part of the bamboo shoot. As you get closer to the edible part of the shoot, make a vertical incision and peel the layers back until you reach the edible part of the shoot.
  2. Biol the bamboo shoots in an open pot for 20 minutes; don’t skip this stage. It is the boiling that eliminates the toxins in the bamboo shoots.
  3. Remove the bamboo shoots from the boiling water, and leave them in a colander for twenty minutes to drain and cool so the shoots can be handled comfortably.
  4. Chop the bamboo shoots into pieces that suit your recipe needs.
  5. Wrap the bamboo shoots individually. They should still be firm after boiling for 20 minutes.
  6. Place the bamboo shoots in the freezer bags. Remove as much air from the bags as possible, and then seal the bags tightly. This will help to prevent freezer burn.
  7. Mark the freezer bags with the bag’s contents, the freezing date, and the expected expiration date, and then freeze.

Final thoughts

Bamboo shoots are wonderful to eat and give the dish so much crunch and freshness. Boiling the bamboo shoots for sufficient time is essential to negate the toxins, mainly cyanide.

Freezing is easy; the product will freeze perfectly and last six months. After this time, the product will slowly degrade in the freezer.

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