Whether mashed, baked or roasted, people often consider potatoes as comfort food. It is an important food staple and the number one vegetable crop in the world. Potatoes are available year-round as they are harvested somewhere every month of the year.

The potato belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. They are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and is designed to provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. If allowed to flower and fruit, the potato plant will bear an inedible fruit resembling a tomato.

Potatoes are starchy foods and  the impact of the starch can place them in the “bad carb” category. While healthy individuals can tolerate them in moderation, the carbohydrates in potatoes are not always a good choice for anyone who is in a low carb diet, diabetic or prediabetic or needs to keep their blood sugar balanced.

If you love potatoes but are worried about the carbohydrates, a new Ontario-grown spud is here to save your day. A Canadian company says its new potato is lower in carbs, and it has a lower glycemic response making the crop a great option for a low carb diet and diabetics.

Another great news is that the Ontario-based EarthFresh Farms says the Carisma potato is grown from seeds from the Netherlands and isn’t genetically modified.

While a yellow or russet potato has about 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates, the Carisma has about 70 calories and 15 grams of carbs, Jane Dummer, a Kitchener, Ontario-based registered dietitian, said.

Now an important question: how does it taste? Dummer said the texture is a little “different.”

“It tastes similar to a yellow potato but it’s a creamier, melt-in-your-mouth kind of flavour that lends itself well to mashing or to make potato salads,” she explained. They’d also be great as fries, she added.

Right now it’s already gained a following in Australia.

In Canada, it’s only sold in Ontario this fall at Longo’s, Metro, Sobey’s and Whole Foods.

The company is working with farms in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island to expand sales across Canada.


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