The hallmark of root vegetables is that they grow underground. You have to dig them up to eat them. And then, with a few notable exceptions like carrots, you must cook them to be palatable. There’s the rub. Cooking them takes time and can be tricky. Who hasn’t undercooked potatoes or overcooked carrots? And how about beets? Who even knows how to cook them?
That is where a nifty little company, Straight from the Root (SFTR), comes in. They have figured out how to make it painless for you to enjoy perfectly prepared root vegetables in just a minute and a half. That’s right, 90 seconds for perfect little potatoes or yummy red beets. How can that be?
The company uses a classic European cooking method called sous vide, a term that means “under vacuum” in English. First, the vegetables are peeled, cut-up, and then placed in a BPA-free plastic bag and vacuum sealed. Then, the bag is placed in a warm water bath so the vegetables can cook in their own juices. Once fully cooked, the vacuum-sealed vegetables are blast-chilled to stop the cooking process.
Unlike traditional cooking methods like boiling and steaming that cause nutrient loss of up to 30%, sous vide keeps all of the vegetables vital nutrients intact. Since the vegetables are not exposed to oxygen after they are vacuum sealed, they are able to last up to 45 days in the refrigerator without the need for preservatives.
Which roots do they have?
Straight from the Root’s current products include butternut squash, red beets, sweet potatoes, honey gold potatoes, and baby carrots. They sent me samples of them all.
The company says all of their vegetables are fresh (not frozen), organic, GMO, and preservative-free. And, each of the packages has exactly the right amount of roots to use as a side dish for two. This is nice because it avoids having to deal with leftovers or waste. And the little packages don’t take up too much room in the fridge.
That’s nice, but how do they taste?
The answer is they taste great! I started with the red beets because I love beets. The box said to heat the bag in the microwave for 90 seconds (you can also toss the bag in boiling water for the same amount of time), so I was able to finish cooking the main course before I heated the beets. Then, I cut the bag open and tossed the bite-sized purple gems into a bowl and topped them with a dab of mayo. (I know, weird, but that is the way I like them—you should try it some time.) I was amazed. The beets were perfectly cooked with just the right texture—not too hard and not too squishy. Yum, we are off to a good start.
The baby carrots made a nice lunch snack straight out of the bag one time and the next time as a side with a bit of butter and fresh dill.
I tried the honey gold potatoes next. Again, they also came out of the bag with just the right degree of doneness. I put a dab of butter on them and topped them with fresh dill. Potatoes have never been this simple.
Texturewise, the butternut squash came out great, too, although I did sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on the top to sweeten them up. I noticed that SFTR has recipes available on their site. Maybe next time I will try something new instead of sticking with my usual way of serving roots.
My only disappointment was the sweet potatoes. I don’t really like them anyway, but I really didn’t like that they seemed undercooked—too crunchy for a veggie that I am used to eating like mashed potatoes. Perhaps, it is an acquired taste. I tried putting them back in the microwave for another 30 seconds but never got them quite right.
How can you get your hands on them?
I was delighted to learn that you can buy Straight from the Root products at a number of popular supermarkets, including Amazon-acquired Whole Foods. Here’s a link to a store locator. Unfortunately, right now, they are only available in grocery stores in the western states, including Hawaii. Hopefully, that will change soon. SFTR hopes that you will talk to your favorite store’s produce manager and ask them to stock their product. They hope to expand across the U.S. Meanwhile, you can buy the product online directly from the company: https://www.sftroot.com/collections/all.
Founder and President of the company, Paul Lagudi, sums up Straight from THE ROOT’s goal this way:
“We aim to create the most convenient, cleanest way to get your vegetables every day. We understand that people often shy away from buying, prepping, and cooking vegetables, especially on busy weeknights. Great quality, healthy food doesn’t need to be a hassle or a mess.”
In my opinion, they met the goal and I, for one, am very glad they did.