Despite their reputation for being the silent, strong type of the vegetable world, the humble potato - or Solanum tuberosum - has more attributes than you might think. What might be surprising is that there are more than 5,000 varieties of these strong silent types in the world, and no two varieties are the same. (Note: we are still talking about potatoes.)
In Australia, we are spoilt for choice. You can select your potato on the basis of colour, size and texture or whether you need to chip, chop, slice, dice, boil, fry, bake, mash or even dance the hot potato. But the one thing that most potatoes have in common is a high GI rating - until now.
For the last few years, a new variety of potato has been growing naturally under good, clean Australian dirt; its common exterior belying a characteristic that had the potential to revolutionise the reputation of the potato within our diet.
Farmers work with science and research all the time to improve the quality of their soil and the yield of their crops. When Carisma first tumbled out of the earth, no-one would have thought it to be different from any other potato. In Carismaâ€™s case, beauty
was certainly more than skin deep.
This medium-sized potato represents all the great things about Australian produce. It is grown locally and occurs naturally, without any fancy experiments or 'accidents' in the lab. In fact, the only time Carisma saw a lab was as part of regular testing to check the quality and health of produce before it makes it to our tables and stomachs.
It was here, through routine testing, that scientists discovered Carisma was different. It contained all the goodness of a regular potato - being naturally grown, here in Australia - but also boasted
a low GI rating.