Then what the heck are those round fruit-like objects growing on our oak trees? That's the question I asked myself a few years ago when I encountered my first oak gall.
This morning I noticed a scattering of leaves on the driveway with attached oak galls. Fortunately the goats were not around to see me picking up the green oak leaves - their favorite tasty treat. I picked up a leaf, then another, and another, till finally I looked up. The tree above me was speckled with tiny pink oak galls.
Lo and behold, I found other types of oak galls just by turning over the leaves laying on the ground.
Here's another cool factoid: Oak galls are loaded with tannins (tannic acid) and have been used since the Middle Ages to the 1900's as an ingredient used in making inks and dyes.
I'm not interested in making iron gall ink but I did find a 3-ingredient recipe for a natural dye I could whip up with just a few crushed oak galls, vinegar (or lemon juice), and a bit of rust from rusty nails. That's it. I haven't tried it yet but it sounds easy-peasy and I've started keeping an eye out for the tiny treasures.