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Scientists Have Created a Plant That Grows ‘Egg and Chips’

The invention is actually a dual-cropping plant that grows both eggplant (that's the "egg") and potatoes (chips—geddit?). Those horticulturalists sure do love their wordplay!

by Phoebe Hurst
Jan 8 2016, 11:03am

Ramen burgers and waffle tacos aside, there is something to be said for "fusion food." Haggis pakoras kinda just work and there can't be many people with the willpower to resist a chicken tikka masala pizza.

Now, it seems horticulturalists have taken the art of mashing-together-two-seemingly-unrelated-foodstuffs to even greater heights as it was announced this week that a newly developed "Egg and Chips" plant would go on sale in Britain for the first time.

Before you get lost in fantasies of harvesting fully formed plates of fries and dippy eggs with just the right amount of yolk, listen up. The invention is actually a dual-cropping plant that grows both aubergine, also known as eggplant (hence the "eggs" bit), and potatoes (chips—geddit?).

Those horticulturalists sure do love their wordplay!

Despite not bending the laws of avian reproduction and vegetable cultivation, the hybrid plant is still pretty cool. Producing aubergine from its stem and potato at the roots, it was developed through years of grafting trials that saw scientists experiment with over 20 varieties of aubergine.

READ MORE: Now You Can Get Your Ketchup and Fries from One Plant

After selecting one of the purple vegetables deemed best for size and performance, they cut both the aubergine and potato plant stems in half at an identical angle.

The two stems were then grafted together, causing the lower end of the potato plant and the top part of the aubergine to naturally fuse as they grew. The horticulturalists claim that the roots of the hardy potato plant support the more delicate aubergine, making it better suited for growth in British soil.

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"Egg and chips" plant. Photo courtesy Thompson & Morgan.

The resulting Egg and Chips plants are being sold by British seed company Thompson & Morgan and should produce four large aubergines and two kilogrammes of potatoes each. They're also expected to grow well in sunny, sheltered conditions, including balconies, which is good news for apartment-dwelling baba ghanouj fans.

Thompson & Morgan product development manager Michael Perry said: "For those without the luxury of an allotment or large vegetable patch, it makes the most of available space in the garden. Even the smallest patio or balcony can accommodate a pot-grown Egg and Chips plant."

READ MORE: The Edible Plant That May Kill You Might Cure Herpes

While the company won't disclose the exact variety of aubergine and potato used to create the plant, Perry has high hopes for the crop's taste.

"The aubergine variety chosen for the grafting process is a modern strain that has had the bitterness bred out of it so you can simply pick, chop, and cook it," he said.

Harvesting a homegrown aubergine, sun-ripened just metres from your own kitchen does sound pretty great … Almost as great as dipping a ketchup-smothered chip into that last smear of egg yolk.