How to Substitute Kombucha for Vinegar in Recipes
Have you forgotten about your brewing booch and now have a batch of super sour kombucha on your hands? If so, you might have stumbled upon one of the healthiest vinegars you can use today. Very mature kombucha, due to its composition, the fermentation process which produces it, falls into the natural vinegars category.
All natural vinegars are derived from a process of fermentation, and in many cases are the result of other ferments left for longer periods of time. For example apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, and rice vinegar. These are all vinegars which were originally made via cider and wine which was left to ferment for too long, and produced vinegar. In fact, the name vinegar is derived from the French term ‘vin-aigre’ which means sour wine.
Why Kombucha Vinegar is Awesome
All natural vinegars contain health benefits. Vinegar has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is still gaining popularity as a health food due to new studies. There are however two downsides to commercially sold natural vinegars, and these are price and purity.
Kombucha Vinegar Does Not Contain Contaminates from Plastic
Most brands of vinegar comes in plastic bottles. Vinegar should not be stored in plastic bottles, due to its corrosive abilities.The reason for this is that vinegar contains acetic acid. Acetic acid is the component which makes vinegar sour and imbues it with many of its health properties, antibacterial actions and usefulness as a natural cleaning agent. The acid has the ability to ‘eat’ at the plastic on an infinitesimal level, causing leaching. So while one will be getting the health benefits of natural vinegar, you will also be getting small amounts of BPAs and other harmful chemicals. Unless of course you are using a brand which comes in glass bottles, but you will most probably be paying top dollar. Which brings us to my next point.
Kombucha Vinegar is Dirt Cheap
The other aspect which makes kombucha vinegar awesome is that it is super cheap to make! Even if you are using organic tea and sugar to make the kombucha, your kombucha vinegar will still end up having cost you a fraction of the price of a bottle of natural vinegar. In fact it even works out cheaper than spirit vinegar, making kombucha a thrifty choice for general cleaning purposes.
So now that I have completely roped you into the idea of kombucha vinegar – let’s take a look at how to use it in recipes in place of other vinegars.
Guidelines for Substituting Kombucha Vinegar into Your Cooking
When deciding to use kombucha vinegar in recipes in place of ordinary vinegars, there is one thing which you need to keep in mind, and that is its strength.
Strength: Regular Vinegar vs Kombucha Vinegar
Acetic acid is what gives vinegar its strength of sourness. Most vinegars have a concentration of acetic acid of roughly 5%, while kombucha vinegar is estimated to have an acetic concentration of about 2%. This means when using Kombucha vinegar for cooking and in recipes you can more than double the quantity without things getting overly sour.
Strength: How Time Affects Kombucha Vinegar Strength
Of course the above estimate only works if your kombucha is completely mature. This usually requires between 30-60 days fermentation time. Things like very low temperatures, large batches and narrow fermentation vessel openings can slow down the process. Therefore it might be that what you have harvested as kombucha vinegar is not at the 2% acetic acid concentration, even if it is pretty sour.
In this case again, up the quantity for recipes to get the flavor right. The safest strategy is to simply increase the vinegar amount to just over double. Then slowly add more- tasting if possible along the way – until you reach the correct level of sourness.
Flavors & the Use of Kombucha Vinegar
Kombucha vinegar does not really impart a ‘kombucha’ taste to food which is it made which. The amounts used are too small to make whole dishes taste like kombucha. However if you have a delicate and discerning palate you might notice a difference.
Of course if you have ended up with kombucha vinegar which is from a batch of flavored kombucha – then you might want to take this flavor into consideration. Especially if the kombucha vinegar is a little immature still and you will need to use more to achieve the right level of tartness. Of course, the additional flavor might be complementary, such as apple flavored kombucha vinegar together with pork.
On the flip side it is easy to infuse flavor into kombucha vinegar. Simply combine herbs or spices along with your kombucha vinegar in a bottle, and let to steep for a week plus.
The role that very mature kombucha can play as a homemade vinegar is quite exciting! If one is making kombucha on a regular basis, intentionally forgetting a few batches to mature into kombucha vinegar is practically effortless. As a result you will be getting the healthiest form of vinegar, right from a jar in your kitchen, for probably less than a few dollars.
Using kombucha vinegar in place of regular vinegar is not too complicated. After a few uses you will most likely start to develop a knack for what quantity is required. If you feel unsure as to how much to use, do taste testing until you can cook using kombucha vinegar with confidence