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Anyone who has had a batch of kombucha tea ferment for a bit too long has experienced what some people call kombucha vinegar. The longer fermentation of kombucha tea produces a very acidic taste, almost like 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. It is acidic like vinegar, and if used raw, it has beneficial probiotics and enzymes similar to apple cider vinegar.
How can kombucha be coaxed into a more acidic element like vinegar and how can it be substituted for vinegar in recipes?
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. However, different culturing conditions can affect the total brewing time. If the fermentation temperature is lower, it may take longer. If the fermentation vessel has a narrow opening, it may take longer.
It is best to taste the kombucha at least once a week until the desired acidity level is reached.
Depending on the acidity of your kombucha, it can be substituted kombucha for the vinegar in any recipe, from baked goods to salad dressings.
If the finished kombucha still tastes a bit sweet, reduce the amount of other sweeteners used in the recipe. If the kombucha isn’t as tangy as a vinegar, use a little 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.
The following are examples of how kombucha can be substituted for vinegar in dressings, marinades, and other recipes: