The shoots are the only portion of the fast-growing grass we know as bamboo that’s edible to humans. But before they can be consumed, the shoots need their fibrous exteriors cut away, and then the shoots need to be boiled. When eaten raw, bamboo contains a toxin that produces cyanide in the gut. Many Asian grocery stores will sell freshly prepared bamboo shoots that have already been detoxified. Don’t worry about the canned variety: They’re perfectly safe to eat without further cooking.