No, these aren't tomatoes. They're rose hips from the beach rose bush. Beach roses come in either white or pink and have a sweet, clean smell that instantly transports me back to childhood summers on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Beach rose bushes spring up wherever there's sandy soil, so it's no wonder how they got their name.
For the longest time, I thought beach rose and beach plum bushes were one in the same and that the reddish-orange balls pictured below were fruit. I was wrong. It turns out that they are two separate plants and that what I thought was a fruit is actually a rose hip. Oops!
I figured it out when I cut open a couple of the rose hips. Instead of revealing a sweet, fleshy fruit, I got what looked like a mini-pumpkin packed with seeds. What to do, what to do? Well...turn to Wikipedia, of course! My plan was to use the "fruit" somehow in the recipe for my Beach Plum Thumbprint Cookies, but I quickly learned that wouldn't work.
I may have had to switch gears with my recipe, but I did get a botany lesson...and an idea. I have a bottle of unopened rose water I got a while ago stashed at the back of my baking cupboard. Stay tuned for a rose-flavored cookie. I'm thinking it will be a small, flat, round rolled/cutout cookie topped with some crunchy dusting sugar.