Not enough rain, not enough new shoots or growth on the ones that emerged in the last weeks.
Let’s talk about the harvesting and selection of shoots for eating. Here you see a bag of plump, rounded shoots from a fairly moist and shaded area under power-lines.
It’s important to select shoots that are still rounded. Once they get a bit taller and their sides straighten, it’s too late. Also, select shoots that are just emerged, not ones that have been dawdling because of drought. Lastly, prefer shaded areas: like asparagus or leeks, bamboo shoots like a bit of blanching.
My method for taking shoots is simple, if a little wasteful. I push horizontally with the sole of my boot, heel-against-base, which usually snaps them at the right level. Very quick.
If you’ve peeled a lot of my favourite veggie, artichokes, you’ll be ready to handle bamboo shoots. There’s no definite way, just remember to cut in a bit from the purple beading at the base, which tends to be a bit hard and chalky; and cut from the top anything leafy or hairy. The result should be a pretty substantial white lump shaped thus:
Done right, shoots are a great food from every standpoint. Because they can come from undisturbed forest in great quantities with little or no watering or fertilising, their crop and “green” value should be clear. Contrary to what some may think, moso shoots can also be a delicacy. Just remember that they need to be made ready for eating: they must not be eaten raw, and the initial cooking water must not be consumed. More on the final prep later.
Two things are certain in life. When you have your own farm, you will ending whining about the weather. And when you have you have your own blog, you will end up doing gratuitous YouTube links.
A famous aria from Saint-Saen’s Samson and Delilah has been sung by the best mezzos, most notably the sublime Marilyn Horne. Yet no rendition can match that of a certain English lady.
The video is creaky, she sings in English, and, if it’s the first time you’ve seen Dame Janet, you’ll wonder how someone who looks like a Pommie headmistress, or Margaret Thatcher’s brunette cousin, can inject the necessary passion and drama into the legendary piece.
When she’s finished, you too may gape at this joining of vocal and dramatic craft that remains, for me, unrivalled. Delilah/Baker becomes Eternal Woman.
Zieht uns hinan.