Once you start making kombucha, you’ll find yourself with more than you need. Or it goes too long and turns to vinegar. What can you do besides throw the excess away?
10 Alternative Uses for Kombucha
I find that I can easily substitute kombucha for whey in virtually any fermented food recipe.
1. Sourdough starter
Kombucha quickly and efficiently turns flour into a nice sourdough starter. I use quinoa flour and sprouted rice flour for my starter but other flours may be used depending on dietary needs and preferences. See DIY Sourdough Starter.
Pour kombucha over a half jar of mustard seeds. (Yellow seeds are less bitter than brown.) Cover the seeds and leave at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 1-4 weeks. Continue to add kombucha to keep the seeds covered in liquid. Blend to desired consistency.
3. Homemade Jello
Combine 2 cups of kombucha with 2-3 tablespoons gelatin. Add sweetener if desired. I use stevia or non-GMO xylitol. Whisk over low heat to dissolve gelatin thoroughly. Refrigerate. You can add fruit juice if desired, or perhaps coconut water. Looking for high quality gelatin? Two options include Great Lakes and Vital Proteins.
4. Salad Dressing
Substitute sour kombucha for the vinegar in your favorite salad dressing recipe. The rule of thumb for salad dressing is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Add any spices/herbs you like, shake and enjoy. Store your salad dressing in the fridge to avoid further fermentation and formation of SCOBYs. (No sweat if they form – you can always strain them out.)
Combine tomato paste with desired spices and herbs and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 days. I keep the jar covered lightly. I combine 2 jars with 1/2 cup kombucha and throw in some sea salt, cinnamon, cloves and a bit of cayenne pepper. Add a bit of raw honey if desired.
Our skin and hair is naturally acidic, which makes kombucha an excellent companion when it comes to natural personal care.
6.. Skin Toner
Dilute the kombucha with equal part filtered water or a floral hydrosol. I use rose hydrosol which creates a lovely aroma. The toner stores nicely at room temperature for a week or more. You may see small SCOBYs form which can easily be strained. For extended shelf life, store in the fridge.
7. Bath soak
Pour 1-2 cups of sour kombucha into bathwater and watch the healing acids restore vibrancy to fatigued skin. Add magnesium chloride flakes or Epsom salts for further effect. (See The Health Benefits of Transdermal Magnesium.)
8.. Hair rinse
Sour kombucha makes an ideal rinsing agent. Since most shampoos are alkaline, an acidic rinse like strong kombucha will do wonders to bring shine and softness back to your hair. Apply and massage into scalp with fingers or comb. Rinse as usual or allow to remain in your hair!
9. Spray Cleaner
You can substitute super-sour kombucha for vinegar in any cleaning formula. The catch is that the kombucha must be super-strong and taste like vinegar. The other catch is to dilute the kombucha with water and/or vinegar. SCOBYs can form and clog the spray bottle. These are harmless and can be strained but SCOBYs don’t seem to form when the kombucha is diluted. I use equal parts vinegar, kombucha and water. Add some lemon essential oil for a nice aromatic boost.
10. Laundry rinse aid
White vinegar makes an excellent rinse agent and I’ve found the super strong kombucha does the same. Add 1/2 cup to any load to help with softening and odor. It works especially well with towels. I’ve noticed no staining, only brighter clothes.
What about those quickly multiplying SCOBYs?
No need to toss them. You can dehydrate them after marinating in fruit juice for an easy snack or try any of the following:
Our beloved Tebow loves SCOBYs whether dehydrated or raw!
Believe it or not, you can apply the SCOBY directly to your face!
I make my own band-aids with dried SCOBYs. See Incredible Edible Band-Aids.
Do you brew kombucha? What do you do with the extra?