Bamboo – how to identify bamboo and use for food, weapons, tools, shelters, and more
There are several varieties of bamboo including Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, Phyllostachys.
Where to Find: Look for bamboo in warm, moist regions in open or jungle country, in lowland, or on mountains. Bamboos are native to the Far East (temperate and tropical zones) but have been widely planted around the world.
Edible Parts: The young shoots of almost all species are edible raw or cooked. Raw shoots have a slightly bitter taste that is removed by boiling. To prepare, remove the tough protective sheath that is coated with tawny or red hairs. The seed grain of the flowering bamboo is also edible. Boil the seeds like rice or pulverize them, mix with water, and make into cakes.
Other Uses: Use the mature bamboo to build structures or to make containers, ladles, spoons, and various other cooking utensils. Also, use bamboo to make tools and weapons. You can make a strong bow by splitting the bamboo and putting several pieces together. Bamboo is naturally suited to blow guns too.
Note: Green bamboo may explode in a fire. Green bamboo has an internal membrane you must remove before using it as a food or water container.