There are multiple huge clumps of bamboo growing by the river near our new property. Last week I cut a long piece as a ridgepole, then wedged it in between a cinnamon and a grapefruit tree and draped a tarp over it. Now I have a covered space to store some scrap lumber.
Rachel decided to research what else could be done with bamboo and came across this amazing video:
I have heard that bamboo rots quickly when exposed to the weather; however, I’ll bet interior bamboo would last a long, long time.
I think I’ll hunt down a few different varieties I can add to the new homestead. Some smaller types for tomato stakes and cane poles would be great.
I don’t think I’ll get anywhere near this lady’s level of craftsmanship, but there are a million and one uses for bamboo.
I think it was Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, who called bamboo the “king of permaculture plants.” Though that may have been Paul Wheaton.
I agree. Despite bamboo’s bad reputation – which can be blamed entirely on “running” types – it is a marvelously useful plant.
It’s also edible, with a little work:
“Fresh bamboo shoots need to be processed before using them for cooking.
Bamboo shoots contain a cyanogenic glycoside (taxiphyllin), which needs to be removed before it can be used successfully in cooking.
While the task may seem daunting it actually is quite easy.
First, the outer layers of the shoot need to be peeled away using a sharp knife. Once peeled, cut away any tough portions toward the base that your knife cannot easily cut through. Discard the tough portion. Then slice or dice the more tender portion to your desired size.
Place the cut pieces in a bowl of cold, salty water (3 tablespoons of salt per each quart of water) to prevent them from turning brown and to begin removing the bitterness.
Second, place them in a pot of saltwater and boil for 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the water and fill the pot with fresh water and boil for another 5 to 10 minutes to ensure all bitterness is gone.
Once processed, it can be added to your favorite recipes that call for bamboo shoot.”
At my old property I planted some running bamboo on accident, then just let it keep growing to see what would happen. The new homeowner is trying to eradicate it now. (Sorry about that!)
I did use the canes for all sorts of things when I had it, but I am very, very irresponsible when it comes to plants.
I haven’t seen any running varieties locally – yet – so for now, my homestead is probably safe.
Thanks for sharing that video David. This has always interested me as many decades ago I scored a set of Bamboo furniture from the 1920’s. It’s differently constructed than as shown in the video, but I like both methods and learned some new things watching it! Perhaps now I will finally be inspired to restore mine…..a New Year’s project perhaps.
Happy New Year!