Why just drink kombucha? Here are 15 other ways to put your fermented tea to use.
Hippie alert: I have been brewing kombucha for quite some time. I have passed along many a SCOBY (that’s a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast to you kombucha newbies) to family members and friends. And although the site of a gelatinous form brewing in a large glass jar on the kitchen counter might freak some people out (it does) there’s nothing more satisfying than fermenting your own kombucha and skipping out on the $5 bottle at the local co-op.
Kombucha is a beautiful – albeit slightly odd looking – thing. The fact that you pour sugary tea into a glass vat and it somehow transforms into a fizzy drink full of probiotics still amazes me. But if you brew your own kombucha, you know fully well that once you get going, you can soon have too much of the stuff. Granted, a refrigerator full of ready-to-drink kombucha is not a bad thing, but there are plenty of other ways to put the stuff to use.
1. Wash your hair
Just like vinegar can do some good for your hair, so can kombucha. In fact, it is gentler on hair than regular vinegar, and can serve you well as a hair rinse. Because you want stronger kombucha, making your own hair rinse is also an excellent way to put over-brewed kombucha to use. Consider infusing it with some rosemary while you’re at it.
2. Mix a cocktail
Kombucha is fizzy, why wouldn’t you want to make a cocktail out of it? Because of its strong taste, you can think of kombucha as a sour mix. Kombucharita anyone? Or how about a Kombucha Pineapple Cocktail? Summer drinking just got a whole lot more appealing.
3. Blend smoothies
Kombucha can easily be used as your liquid for a healthy smoothie. If you’re a fan of green drinks, try a kale kombucha smoothie. Or if a fruitier taste is more to your liking, try this strawberry coconut smoothie.
4. Facial toner
As it turns out, just like vinegar, kombucha can also be used as a facial toner – it helps balance the skin’s pH levels. You can use it on its own, just applying with a cotton ball, or make a toner with a few other ingredients like this kombucha aloe toner.
5. Make popsicles
Put that kombucha in the freezer! Freeze in popsicle makers on its own, or come up with crazy combinations like vanilla and berries.
6. Mix up a salad dressing
You can make a basic vinaigrette by switching out kombucha in recipes that call for apple cider vinegar.
7. Clean your house
If your kombucha has sat a little too long and it’s too strong to drink (i.e. it tastes like vinegar) bottle it up and use as an all purpose cleaner. Use it as you would distilled vinegar for cleaning.
8. Give yourself a facial
Some are so addicted to kombucha that they swear by using it for making your own facial creams. You can add a bit of it to your regular moisturizer as well.
9. Ease a sore throat
Blend tea and honey and gargle like you would salt water.
10. Soak your feet
Use one part room temperature water and one part kombucha for a foot soak. Make sure you use kombucha that has been brewed for a long time so that it’s extra strong and not as sweet as one you would drink.
11. Use it as a pet treat
If you’re trying to get rid of some of your SCOBY, you can dry it and use it as a chew toy for your animals. No, really, it’s like fruit leather for your dog.
12. Make vegan sushi
Granted, this may make some people queezy, but you can cut up a scoby and use it as a replacement for fish in sushi.
13. Compost with it
When your scoby gets out of control and you don’t have a friend to give it to, you can throw it in your compost.
14. Two words: vegan jerky
Yes, you can turn your scoby into jerky if you really feel like it. Just marinate and dehydrate and you can serve kombucha jerky to all of your friends.
15. Use as a natural pesticide
You can use kombucha as a natural pesticide in your garden. Just pour into a spray bottle and go to town. You can also combine with a few tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a bowl and set out to help get rid of fruit flies.
Image: Anna Brones