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Rau Ram for Good Health and Flavor

One of the herbs that we grow at Cloverfield Organic Farm is the flavorful herb rau ram. Rau ram is a pretty plant that likes to grow in moist soil in part-shade. It's scientific name is Persicaria odorata and it is native to Southeastern Asia. Rau ram is perennial and it goes dormant in the winter. It won't survive a hard frost, but it reliably survives and thrives in the bay area of California.

Rau ram belongs in the knotweed family of herbs and as such is rich in polyphenols, such as resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to preserve the health of the ends of of our chromosomes, telomeres. Keeping your telomeres healthy and long may lead to a robust long life.

Rau ram is used extensively in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The flavor of rau ram is reminiscent of cilantro, but without the soapy taste that some people find objectionable in cilantro. It has a peppery quality. Use rau ram as a substitute for cilantro in any recipe, and reap the health and nutritional benefits of this fine herb.

Rau ram is traditionally only used fresh. It doesn't retain its flavor when dried. You may cut fresh stems of it at our farm or in your own garden and tear off the leaves, like you would do with basil leaves. The remaining stalks can be saved to flavor a broth, or I just drop them into our compost pile. The leaves can be put into salsas, soups, sauces, spring rolls, salads, or stir fries. A sprinkling of diced rau ram over a baked potato or dish of rice is also fantastic. It can also be blended up into a pesto and served over noodles.

To inspire you, here is a chicken salad recipe that features rau ram:

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 cup fresh rau ram leaves

1/2 cup fresh apple mint, chopped

3-5 diced hot fresh chiles, such as Thai or jalapeño (or 1 Manzano chile)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 limes, zested and juiced

Sea salt to taste

Add the shredded chicken to the other salad ingredients and serve either chilled or at room temperature. Other cooked and shredded poultry meats (e.g., turkey, quail, duck, or game hens) can be substituted for the chicken.

Come to Cloverfield Organic Farm to u-pick fresh rau ram or pick up a potted plant of rau ram to grow your own. We are located at 501 La Paloma Rd., El Sobrante, CA Our regular open hours during daylight savings time are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from noon to five. We have free parking and there is no entrance fee. Other times and special events and services can be reserved on our website.

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