When fermented long enough, kombucha tastes like apple cider vinegar. And it can be used like it too. Here are 8 uses for kombucha in place of vinegar.
Got kombucha? Chances are at some point you brewed too much of it or left it alone too long and it went too sour for your taste. Don’t throw it out! You can still use it for so many different things. I’ve got 8 alternative uses for kombucha you can use that you’ve never thought about before.
But first, I wanted to explain my own experience. After making my first batch, I got hooked on brewing my own kombucha. But then, life got the best of me. I got busy and I let my last batch of kombucha brew for just over two weeks. For many kombucha drinkers, a two-week old brew is just fine. For me? It was like drinking apple cider vinegar – it was way too sour. I thought I’d have to throw the whole batch out and start again. And then I started thinking… if my kombucha tastes like apple cider vinegar could I use my kombucha for different food uses or even non-food uses (like cleaning and disinfecting) like vinegar? You bet. In fact, I inadvertently made kombucha vinegar. I wanted to find other uses for kombucha.
Usually kombucha tea is brewed within 7-10 days – though hard-core kombucha tea drinkers may brew it for longer. After 2-4 weeks, kombucha becomes more sour – like vinegar. Yet both kombucha tea and vinegar both contain live enzymes, amino acides and acids (such as acetic acid), which act as a mild antibacterial properties.1
So use kombucha vinegar as you would regular apple cider vinegar. Below are some other ideas.
What is Kombucha?
Before we go into alternative uses for kombucha, you may have not tried it at all, let alone made it. So what exactly is kombucha?
It’s a fermented tea drink that’s made by adding yeast and a culture of bacteria to a mixture of black or green tea, sugar, and sometimes additional flavorings or fruit juice. After you blend the tea with sugar, it becomes kombucha with the help of something called S.C.O.B.Y., which stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This live bacteria sets the stage for a fermentation process, which is what gives kombucha its slight effervescence and tart-and-tangy taste.
Some find the fruity, vinegary flavor of kombucha to be an acquired taste, so if you’re sipping it for the first time be sure to sample a few different varieties. Then you can make your own. I have a full tutorial on how to make your own kombucha and flavor it with fruit.
8 Alternative Uses for Kombucha
1. Smoothies and Fruit Juices
One easy way to use kombucha is to dilute it with fruit juice. Even using a teaspoon with a cup of juice is a great way to use it. Or mix it in your next smoothie. Or try this vinaigrette recipe…
2. Dressings and Marinades
Make a Kombucha Vinaigrette. Mix the following ingredients (add lemon juice, mustard seeds, herbs like Thyme, etc. to taste) and place in a glass bottle with a stopper. Serve whenever ready.
- 1/4 cup kombucha
- 3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tbsp of raw honey
- Celtic sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning, dried
Try using kombucha as a substitute for vinegar in your favorite dressing recipes and marinades.
3. DIY Household Cleaner
One of my favorite recipes for a household cleaner is one part water, one part vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil. Replace vinegar with kombucha and you’ve got a low-cost cleaner. Here’s my favorite glass spray bottle that works great for DIY household cleaners.
4. Fruit and Veggie Wash
Have you ever bought that organic fruit and veggie wash at the store? I have and shelled out $4 for it. You can make your own just by filling up a sink with water and adding one cup of vinegar (or kombucha vinegar). Let your produce sit in the vinegar wash for about 10 minutes and then rinse.
If you have hard water, mix a cup of kombucha vinegar with about a gallon of water and use it to water plants. Kombucha will help to add acidity to your soil.
6. Natural Pesticide
Add kombucha vinegar to a glass spray bottle and use it as a natural pesticide when you see ants or other pesky bugs trying to make their way inside your house. I love this because I don’t worry if I’m spraying in hig
7. Laundry Booster
Got clothes with that stinky scent even after a wash? Try adding 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to your load and washing as usual. I do this all the time and just started using kombucha vinegar as a substitute. Clothes come out clean (no vinegar smell) and sans the original stinky smell.
8. Brew More Kombucha
If your original batch of kombucha tea is too sour for you, use some of the tea with your SCOBY to brew a new batch of kombucha. You can set the original sour batch aside and brew the new batch for just a couple of days to cut down on the sourness of the first batch. I love using mason jars for brewing and storing my kombucha.
What’s your favorite non-traditional way to use leftover kombucha?
How to Store your Kombucha
Canning jars and storage jars in quart, half-gallon, and gallon sizes work well. For continuous brew systems a larger glass jar with spigot is a good choice. Be sure the spigot inside the jar is plastic, not metal, as metal can damage the kombucha SCOBY.
Are SCOBYs Good for Compost?
Yes, the SCOBY you use to brew kombucha tea at home can be used as a compost ingredient. SCOBY would be considered a green compost matter (source of nitrogen).
The SCOBY can be used in both a vermicompost and a regular compost pile. It should also be okay to put molded SCOBY in a compost heap. Keep in mind that scoby can attract pests like fruit flies so make sure it is well mixed into the compost heap.
Top Tips for Leftover Kombucha
- Both kombucha tea and vinegar contain contain live enzymes, amino acids and acids (such as acetic acid), which act as a mild antibacterial properties.
- Don’t throw away the SCOBY. It can be used for compost.
- Avoid metal and metal containers as this can affect the SCOBY.
- You can use some of your old tea kombucha to make a fresh batch.
More Posts You Might Like
- Guide to Homemade Kombucha + How to Flavor It (Second Fermentation)
- Homemade Electrolyte Drink
- Easy Red Sangria Recipe
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1. All About Kombuchua, Wikipedia.
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