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KOMBUCHA VINEGAR- Don’t Lament When Your Kombucha Over-Ferments!

A delicious, tart and multipurpose vinegar with all the probiotic and nutritional benefits of kombucha

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by Jody Gowans in Kombucha
March 7, 2017

KOMBUCHA VINEGAR- IT STARTED WITH A MISTAKE!

I actually stumbled upon kombucha vinegar early on in my kombucha experimenting days.   I had left a batch of kombucha to ferment for too long.  Instead of dumping it, I decided to go ahead with the bottling and second fermentation.   Immediately after trying it, my entire family complained in unison how “vinegary” it tasted.  I ended up drinking the batch on my own, but had to agree with them!  

I did some more research and discovered that kombucha vinegar is actually a thing (I didn’t invent it!!!).  This makes sense, as the by-product of the bacterial cultures found in kombucha is acetic acid, which is responsible for the sour and pungent taste of vinegar.  While kombucha vinegar is only about 2% acetic acid (commercial vinegar is between 4-7%), it still has a bite and pleasant, almost fruity flavour. 

HOW TO USE KOMBUCHA VINEGAR

IN RECIPES

I now always reserve a bottle or 2 from a finished kombucha brew to “age” to make vinegar.  I use it in my vinaigrettes, as well as in marinades and as a condiment.  In addition to the delicious flavour, kombucha vinegar has the bonus of the enhanced nutrition and probiotics found in kombucha tea. kombucha-vinegar-2                 

AS A CLEANER

Aside from food, there are other uses for kombucha vinegar.  It is a natural disinfectant and can be used to as a cleanser.  Mix 1 cup kombucha vinegar with a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle.  

SKINCARE

Kombucha vinegar can also be used as a facial astringent.   It reportedly helps to balance the skin’s pH and also kills bacteria that could clog pores resulting in acne.  I actually saw a skin care line at my local health food store last month that is using kombucha in their products.  Save some money and use your own brew!

Many rave about using kombucha vinegar as a hair rinse, claiming it leaves their hair softer without stripping the natural oils found in our scalp.  

There are many more uses for kombucha vinegar.  www.kombuchakamp.com or The Big Book of Kombucha (Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory) are excellent resources for more information.

So, the next time you mistakenly let your kombucha ferment for too long, don’t lament!  There are many fantastic options with this amazing brew!

 

 HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA VINEGAR

Option1:

  1. Reserve an entire batch or portion of finished kombucha
  2.  Place in a jar and cover the top with a coffee filter or dish towel.
  3. Let it sit at room temperature until the desired level of acidity and tartness are reached. 
  4. The vinegar can be stored at room temperature.  Refrigerating will slow down the bacteria, reducing the souring of the vinegar. 

Option 2:  (Courtesy of The Big Book of Kombucha: Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory)

  1. Reserve an batch or portion of finished kombucha.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sugar per pint of of kombucha every 2 weeks for a period of 6 weeks.
  3. The vinegar can be stored at room temperature.  Refrigerating will slow down the bacteria, reducing the souring of the vinegar. 
10 Comments
  1. cynthia says:

    Hi Courtney,
    I’ve been making great kumbucha for a couple months. My frig is stocked, so I want to make vinegar. If I allow the remainder in my container to turn to vinegar will it harm the scobie for future kumbucha batches?
    Thnak you,
    Cynthia

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Cynthia- thanks for your interest and question. Glad to hear your kombucha batches have been successful! YOu could technically leave in your SCOBY when making the vinegar, but it’s best to remove it so that you don’t stress out the culture and risk losing it. Remember that you are not feeding the kombucha during the vinegar-making process as you want the culture in the reserved brew to consume the the residual sugar to achieve vinegar.

  2. Simon says:

    Hi, Do you leave the scoby in the container you are using when making the Kombucha vinegar?

    Thanks

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Simon- thanks for your interest and question. No, I remove the SCOBY when making the vinegar. Another one will likely form on the top as the vinegar is aging, and I often find mini ones in the bottles of my finished vinegar. You could leave the SCOBY in, but I like to remove it to try and preserve the integrity of the SCOBY.

  3. Ally Wilinski says:

    Hey there! Love your blog! Do you use any natural preservatives when using the vinegar for skincare? Or do you just use within a certain amount of time or refrigerate? I want to make an herb infused facial toner but I read conflicting things!

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Ally- thanks for your interest! I keep my kombucha vinegar on the counter. I have plain and also rosemary, and thyme-infused kombucha vinegars and have never had an issue with them spoiling. If you are using the kombucha vinegar as a toner, you might want to dilute it a bit as the pH is quite low.

  4. Courtney says:

    Hi,
    Can the Kombucha Vinegar be stored in a pantry like Braggs ACV or does it have to be refrigerated? And how long is the shelf life?

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Courtney- thanks for you interest and question. Yes, absolutely store kombucha vinegar at room temperature. It will continue to ferment and become more acidic and flavourful, but be sure to keep the lid loose (if you are using a lid) and it will continue to produce CO2! I usually use a bottle with a spigot, but I have had a lidded bottle spit up on me! As far as my experience goes, the shelf life is indefinite!

  5. Bradley says:

    You saved 2 gallons of kombucha that I forgot about, I’m going to start making vinegar on purpose now, thank you!!

    1. Jody Gowans says:

      Hi Bradley- Nice! I always reserve an extra batch for vinegar- we go through it quickly in my house (it is the base for my vinaigrettes)

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