A rose by any other name? The bright orange-red fruits of the flowering Rosa rugosa plant have been called many things: beach tomatoes, beach plums (incorrectly), and in their native Japan, shore eggplants. High in Vitamin C and iron, they were once used to ward off scurvy, but today are commonly used in jellies, liqueurs, and teas.

Where to look: Close to the ocean, near dunes and beach paths. Rosa rugosa is easily identified by bright white and pink flowers that begin to bloom in June; rose hips begin to ripen in July.

How to use: Chop hips and cover with boiling water to brew into tea, or remove the seeds and hairs to make a syrup or jam. The Martha’s Vineyard Cookbook by Louise Tate King and Jean Stewart Wexler even includes a recipe for a chilled rose hip soup and a rose hip paste to be paired with crackers and cheese.

“An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make a better soup.”

   – H.L. Mencken,
      A Book of Burlesques