Is that what they are called? strictly speaking, Yes! but more commonly referred to as acorns, These nuts are “NOT POISONOUS”, in spite of what you may have been told, however some of the RED OAK nuts,( check the leaves of the tree, and if the lobes around the outer edge are definitely pointed it is of the red oak variety and bitter, alternately the cap ( the part which is/was attached to the branch) is fuzzy inside. Members of the same family include, Willow, Red, Scarlet, Pin, and Black. Whilst the White oak family of Post oaks, White, Gambel, Live and Bur have rounded lobes on the edges of the leaves, and the inside of the caps are smooth indicating the sweeter variety.
If you taste a few before gathering (make sure they do not have grubs or are going mouldy), if you remove any caps of the sweet variety and shell them, they can be eaten either raw or roasted, although some of the sweet varieties can be on the bitter side (dependant on your palate), if you “leach” them ( by boiling in water, and when the water changes colour drain it away replace the water and continue this process ’till the water finally has little or no colour) you are removing the tannin, and you can the eat them or use them to suit your needs, or after roasting them you could add ground up nuts to your muffin or bread mix, if you are carrying out leaching in summer, keep the first brownish coloured water, as it is useful to treat bee or wasp stings.
The saying goes “Mighty oaks from litte acorns grow, as in the case of the English oak “QUERCUS ROBUR” which can grow to over 30 metres in height ( I wonder what the yeild would be in oak nuts from such a giant), Druids hold the oak as sacred due to the Mistletoe from it that they use in their sacred rites. Oak nuts are also grown on the different (cousins) oaks such as the European,asian, orNorth American also the Hungarian,Turkish or the Canyon live oak together with the Northern, Central and South American red oaks.
Chosen as the national tree of England, France, Germany and the United States as a symbol representing strength, an oak nut on a twig is used on the reverse of both the 2 and 5 German cent coins, whilst the United States a gold oak leaf denotes a Major or Lt. Commander, and a silver leaf is for Lt. Colonel or Commander, an arrangement of oak nuts, leaves and sprig are used by the United States Navy Staff corps officers.
The mighty and majestic oak has been used in boat and house construction due to it being both strong and durable, hence “ROBUR” meaning sturdy.