If you’ve ever had a batch of kombucha tea ferment for a bit too long you might have experienced what some people call kombucha vinegar. The longer fermentation of kombucha tea produces a very acidic taste, almost like an apple cider vinegar.
Because of this property, kombucha tea can be used not only as a slightly tart and sweet bubbly beverage, but as a vinegar as well. Not only is it acidic like vinegar, but if used raw, it has beneficial probiotics and enzymes similar to apple cider vinegar.
So you might be wondering how to coax your kombucha into a more acidic element like vinegar and how to substitute it for vinegar in recipes.
How to Make Kombucha Vinegar
Kombucha tea begins with tea, sugar, and a scoby or “mother.” The sweetened tea feeds the scoby which produces acids. By manipulating the amount of time you ferment the kombucha you can produce a sweeter tea or a more acidic tea.
A shorter fermentation will produce a sweeter kombucha with a higher sugar content because the scoby has not had a chance to use up as much of the sugar. A longer fermentation will produce a more acidic kombucha because more of the sugar has been “eaten up” and more acids produced in the fermentation process.
For a vinegar-like kombucha many recommend a fermentation period of around 30 days. This, of course, is all dependent on your environmental factors as well. If your fermentation temperature is lower, it may take longer. If your fermentation vessel has a narrow opening, it may take longer.
Your best bet is to taste the kombucha at least once a week until you reach the desired acidity.
How to Substitute Kombucha for Vinegar
Depending on the acidity of your kombucha, you can pretty much substitute kombucha for the vinegar in any recipe, from baked goods to salad dressings. To be exact with the final flavor of the recipe will take some tweaking, though.
If your kombucha still has a bit of sweetness to it then you will want to remove or lessen the amount of other sweeteners used in the recipe. If your kombucha isn’t as tangy as a vinegar then you will want to use a little bit more to make up for the lack of acidity.
Also, you will probably want to only use kombucha that has not been flavored with fruits, spices, or juices.
Recipes Containing Kombucha
The following are examples of how kombucha can be substituted for vinegar in a recipe: