Japan is in the midst of spring.
After the cherry blossom season comes to an end, another enjoyable seasonal plant of spring arrives.
It's the bamboo shoot (takenoko).
The bamboo shoot is the tender sprout that emerges from the underground stem of the bamboo plant. Because it is still very soft, you can peel off the skin and eat the inner core.
Bamboo shoots are in season from March to June, and are characterized by a unique aroma, flavor, and a crispy texture.
There is a custom of eating bamboo shoots in East Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan.
It is said that bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fiber, which helps to regulate the intestinal environment, and contain a lot of potassium, which suppresses the absorption of cholesterol and promotes the excretion of salt, making it possible to prevent arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure. (※1)
What is The Mysterious Plant, Bamboo?
Bamboo is a very hard material, much like wood, but it does not have growth rings and does not get thicker after reaching a certain size like most trees and plants.
It is highly fertile and produces new bamboo shoots every year from shoots at the nodes of the underground stem, thus eliminating the need for afforestation.
Bamboo flowers only once every 120 years, while a similar plant called "sasa" (a type of broad-leaf bamboo) only flowers once every 60 years.
Bamboo groves and bamboo shoots. Most bamboos originate from China.
Bamboo is a very strong, flexible, and durable material with dense fibers, so it has been used for building materials and processed into cooking utensils, household goods, and traditional Oriental-inspired handicrafts, and has been very familiar to us Asians since ancient times.
Wine vessel made of natural Moso bamboo – from j-Grab Mall
A hat woven with natural Japanese paper yarn made from Kumazasa bamboo.
In recent years, paper has also been made from bamboo and bamboo grass – from j-Grab Mall
Effective Use of Charcoal – The Surprising Effects of Bamboo Charcoal
Bamboo charcoal contains much more minerals such as potassium and sodium than charcoal, and is more porous, making it an excellent soil improver and deodorizer.（※2）
In Japan's neighbor China, bamboo charcoal is used in a wide variety of products, including water purification filters, dehumidifying and odor-absorbing goods for rooms and cars, health care and beauty products, and preservatives for flowers and fruits. Recently, masks incorporating bamboo charcoal have also become popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is also some art using bamboo charcoal.
Just decorating your room as an objet d'art will make you feel at ease.
In Japan, its use as a soil improvement material and deodorizer has been increasing in recent years, and further promotion of its use is expected.
What's more, it is also attracting attention as an edible material!
Remember the no-bake cheesecake with bamboo charcoal we introduced last time?
（If you don't know yet, check out “Sweets that have created a sensation in Japan over the years - JAPAN CRAZE Magazine vol.26 - ”!）
j-Grab Mall also offers other bamboo charcoal products.
It is tasteless and odorless, so it can be added to coffee or kneaded into bread or pastry dough to provide the unique minerals of bamboo charcoal without interfering with the taste – from j-Grab Mall
These bamboo charcoal powders are made from carefully selected bamboo in Japan, carbonized in a special furnace to remove up to 96% of impurities from the bamboo, making them safe to eat and safe for food.
Also, a ceramic tumbler coated with powdered bamboo charcoal utilizes the countless invisible pores of bamboo charcoal to absorb excess substances and allow minerals from the bamboo charcoal to dissolve into the beverage.
Beer tastes mellower with creamy foam, and coffee tastes smoother with impurities removed – from j-Grab Mall
Try the benefits of bamboo charcoal at j-Grab Mall! ♪
※1: Reference material "aff 03 March 2021 - Special Feature: Let's start living with bamboo" (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
※2: Reference material "Toward the Promotion of Bamboo Utilization" (Forestry Agency)
(These materials are all in Japanese.)