When preparing fresh shoots, remove the ends, the outer coverings (leaves or sheaths) which are tougher than the inner coverings, and the fibrous parts. Boil the shoots in water for 10 to 40 minutes depending on size, to help remove the bitter flavor that quickly develops after they are picked. An additional cooking for 5 minutes or so may assist to remove remaining bitterness. Cook until tender but crisp, similar to asparagus. It they are to be microwave cooked, prepare a shallow dish of water and cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the microwave.
Fresh shoots should be kept refrigerated in water that is changed daily. When refrigerated, they can last from several days to a week before beginning to loose their flavor. Canned shoots are readily available and are used for a variety of dishes from stir-fried foods to main dishes, adding a crispy textured vegetable that has a fairly bland taste. Bamboo shoots are a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes, salads, soups, and vegetable side dishes. Bamboo shoots may also be referred to as ba ha, choke-sun, take-noko, and chunsun.