How to Make Kombucha Vinegar
Are you interested in making kombucha vinegar? In this post we take a look at how to make and use kombucha vinegar.
Have you come across the term kombucha vinegar and wondered how to make it? Kombucha vinegar is not difficult to make, in fact many of us make it by accident!
What is Kombucha Vinegar
Kombucha vinegar is, simply put, really really mature kombucha. It forms when kombucha has been left to ferment for so long that it becomes as acidic and sour as vinegar.
Kombucha vinegar has a high amount of natural acids in it – which is what makes it so sour. It also has very low levels of sugar, as most or all of the sugar has been eaten up during fermentation.
What is the Difference Between Kombucha Vinegar and Regular Vinegar?
Besides the difference in how they are made, kombucha vinegars and other vinegars have two compositional differences as well. Kombucha vinegar, if matured fully, contains about 2% acetic acid. As opposed to regular vinegars such as apple cider vinegar or spirit vinegar which contains 5%. The acetic acid is what determines vinegar’s strength, so kombucha vinegar is a lot milder than regular vinegar.
The other difference in composition, is that kombucha vinegar contains not only acetic acid, but gluconic acid as well. Gluconic acid is a highly effective chelator and much celebrated for its ability to pull heavy metals and other toxins from the body. This makes using kombucha and kombucha vinegar very attractive!
How to Go About Making Kombucha Vinegar
All you need to go about making kombucha vinegar, is a batch of kombucha, and lots of time.
Assemble Your Batch of Kombucha
Make your batch of kombucha as you would ordinarily. Once it is set up, place it in a good fermentation spot, not too hot and not too cold, clean, free of dust, and out of direct sunlight.
Let the Kombucha Sit for 30-60 Days
To allow the kombucha to brew to the point where it is kombucha vinegar, it must have ample time to ferment. If temperatures are low, then it could take even longer than 60 days. There is no right and wrong length of time for brewing.
How to Know When the Kombucha Vinegar is Done
The best way to check on the kombucha vinegar is to smell it. This way you can gauge how tart it is. Kombucha naturally has a tart vinegar like smell, especially if left to get fairly mature. Once you start to get a strong vinegar smell from your brewing kombucha – you know it is approaching vinegar.
The exact amount of brewing time in days is not crucial. Simply make sure that the kombucha has reached a super mature level of fermentation, and you will have some mouth puckering kombucha vinegar on your hands!
How to Store Your Kombucha Vinegar
Once you have decided to harvest your kombucha vinegar from its fermentation jar, you will need to bottle it. If you make your own kombucha already, then you will know that kombucha should not be brewed in plastic containers.
The same applies for the storage of kombucha vinegar.
Do Not Store in Plastic Bottles
The reason why you should not store kombucha or kombucha vinegar in plastic bottles is because of the natural acids. The natural acids which are produced during fermentation (and make kombucha and kombucha vinegar tart!) are mildly corrosive. They have the ability to eat away at the walls of plastic containers infinitesimally. This will cause BPAs and other harmful compounds from the plastic to leach into your kombucha vinegar. Not healthy!
Use any kind of glass bottles or jars to store your kombucha vinegar in.
What Quantity of Kombucha Vinegar to Make
When starting a batch of kombucha vinegar, keep in mind that it is very strong. Like most vinegars! So chances are that what you make will last you awhile, even if you only make a small batch.
So for the first batch, you can keep it small.
Do You Want to Use Solely Kombucha Vinegar in Your Kitchen?
If however you are thinking about swapping out store bought vinegar completely for your own homemade kombucha vinegar, then you might want to brew a larger batch.
Reasons For Using Only Kombucha Vinegar
While using solely your own kombucha vinegar in your kitchen might sound crazy, there are three big perks to it:
- Very cost effective
- Healthier than spirit vinegar
- Healthier than all vinegars in plastic bottles
Making your own kombucha vinegar works out very cheap. Tea and sugar are inexpensive ingredients, and the other ingredient – time – is free! If you are purchasing vinegars like apple cider vinegar and other natural vinegars, then you will save a lot by simply making your own natural vinegar from kombucha.
On the other hand, if you have been using spirit vinegar – then switching to kombucha vinegar will mean that you will have a much better quality vinegar at your disposal.
Lastly, you will be avoiding the contaminants contained in bought vinegar which is bottled in plastic bottles. As said above, highly acidic liquid such as vinegar should not be stored in plastic bottles. The acidity can cause leaching of BPAs into the vinegar. Unfortunately most vinegars, except for high quality brands, are usually bottled in plastic. If you brew your own kombucha vinegar and keep it in glass bottles, you will not be exposed to this.
Accidentally Making Kombucha Vinegar
Kombucha vinegar is often made by brewers accidentally – by simply leaving one’s kombucha to ferment for too long. Sometimes life gets a little out of hand, and the kombucha harvesting falls by the way!
If this has happened to one of your batches, no need to worry, simply harvest and store it as kombucha vinegar to be used in the kitchen.
What to Use Kombucha Vinegar For
There are many ways you can use kombucha vinegar.
Substituting Kombucha Vinegar Into Recipes
You can substitute kombucha vinegar into most recipes where vinegar is called for. Take note however that the amount required might not be exactly the same. If your kombucha vinegar is only of a mild strength, then you should use a little more to get the desired level of tartness. If it is also still slightly sweet, then you might want to reduce any other source of sweetening in the recipe. For more detailed guidelines on how to substitute kombucha for regular vinegar in recipes check out How to Substitute Kombucha for Vinegar in Recipes.
If however your kombucha vinegar is super potent, then you will probably be able to substitute it 1:1 in place of the regular vinegar.
Also keep in mind that there are some instances where substituting kombucha vinegar for the vinegar called for in a recipe might not be appropriate. For example balsamic reduction vinegar, or other reduced vinegars. These vinegars are thicker and have a sweeter flavor. If you swop in kombucha vinegar (or any other similar vinegar like apple cider vinegar) the taste of the dish will change.
Recipe Ideas For Using Kombucha Vinegar
Besides substituting kombucha vinegar into your favorite recipes, here is a list of some of the recipes on the site which use kombucha or kombucha vinegar. Just to get you inspired! 🙂
For the recipes which call for regular strength kombucha, simply dilute your kombucha vinegar with water.
Make-Your-Own Kombucha Salad Dressing
Kombucha Italian Dressing
Pork Cutlets Marinated in Kombucha Smothered in a Cream Sauce (Make a solution of kombucha vinegar and water instead of regular strength kombucha)
Kombucha and Parmesan Salad Dressing
Italian Sausage with Kombucha, Peppers and Onions
Kombucha Barbecue Sauce
Kombucha with Mustard and Garlic Dressing
Using Kombucha Vinegar as a Marinade / Brine
In this post there is a recipe for making kombucha vinegar brine: How to Use Kombucha Vinegar as a Brine.
Using Kombucha Vinegar as a Cleaning Agent
Another great use for kombucha vinegar is as a cleaning agent. Regular vinegar is becoming popular once more as an safe, non harmful and effective cleaning agent to use around the home. Unlike chemical cleaning agents, it is not poisonous, and any residues left around the home after cleaning will not cause any health problems.
Kombucha vinegar is just as effective as spirit vinegar or other natural vinegars and is cheap to make, even in large quantities. If you use vinegar as an all purpose cleaning agent around your house, you will probably go through quite a lot of it. So making and using your own kombucha vinegar for cleaning might save you some dollars.
How to Use Kombucha Vinegar as a Cleaning Agent
Kombucha vinegar can be used for most general household cleaning. Here are some examples of where kombucha vinegar works well.
Fill a spray bottle with kombucha vinegar and use at full strength on surfaces, wiping clean afterwards with a cloth. You can also use this to spray down the shower and tub to remove scum.
If you want to infuse your kombucha vinegar spray with an aroma, try adding a drop of tea tree, geranium or lavender oil. These have anti microbial properties as well as a pleasant scent
De-scale the Kettle
If you have a kettle which needs to be descaled, boil in it 1 cup of kombucha vinegar with 1 cup of water. This will loosen the scale.
Descale a Coffee Maker or Dishwasher
The same goes for a coffee maker or dishwasher which has accumulated mineral deposits and layer of scale has built up. Simply run 1-2 cups of kombucha vinegar through the appliance for a cycle.
For blocked drains, do the following:
Pour down the drain a mixture of baking soda and water. Then pour down a few cups of Kombucha vinegar. Once the foaming stops, pour down boiling water. Repeat until the drain is clear.
Brighten & Soften Clothes
Add 3/4 cup of kombucha vinegar to your laundry loads to help de-stain, brighten and soften clothes.
Using Kombucha Vinegar for Your Hair and Skin
Another way to use kombucha vinegar is on your hair and skin! Kombucha vinegar is gentler than regular vinegar, making it easier on your skin and scalp.
As a Hair Rinse
You can use kombucha vinegar as a great hair rinse. Vinegars work to cut through product buildup on hair. The acidity acts to smooth down the cuticles or ‘scales’ of the hair to lie flat – giving hair that shiny silky look that conditioners aim for. For this reason many celebrities use vinegar rinses, in order to strip their hair of product residues, and truly condition it.
The best way to go about doing a vinegar rinse with kombucha vinegar is to dilute it half and half with water the first time. If you feel that it could be stronger, try a less diluted solution next time, or simply straight kombucha vinegar. If however you feel a stinging sensation from the diluted rinse, then stick with this as you do not want to cause any irritation to the scalp with too strong a rinse.
As a Toner
Another great use for kombucha vinegar is as a skin toner! Vinegar used on the skin has a tightening and smoothing effect. It contracts and cleans pores, and inspires cellular regeneration. The natural acids also gently dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin cells together – making for a mild and 100% natural acidic peel. It has mild antiseptic properties and also rebalances the skin’s PH.
Kombucha vinegar is gentler than regular vinegar as said before, so it can be used in full strength on the face. Simply dip a cotton swab into a little kombucha vinegar, and wipe gently over the face.
Making kombucha vinegar is cheap and easy to do. It makes for a super cost effective and healthy source of vinegar, which you can use in the place of regular store bought vinegar. Substitute it into recipes, use it to tenderise meat, use it to clean your house, or even to make your face and hair glow!
If you are making kombucha already, there is nothing simpler than allowing a few batches to turn to kombucha vinegar. In fact, it is so easy that sometimes it happens by accident!