A few months back, I embarked on a challenge. You see, I don’t like kombucha. I don’t like it one bit. But I wanted to try to learn to like it because it’s good for you.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink (yeah, I realize that sounds gross) that’s actually pretty good for you. It has probiotics in it, which can help with things like digestion and they also support your immune system (not to be underrated as we move into cold and flu season).
Sure, there are other forms of probiotics, like other fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, sourdough and miso. But kombucha is a pretty convenient source of drinkable probiotics.
Lots of people love it. I have many friends that like it as a kind of substitute for drinking wine. But for me, I have a hard time with it. It has a kind of vinegary taste to it that I find (literally) hard to swallow.
A few months back, I decided I’d try to see if I could learn to like it. The beginning of that process was learning to make my own. First I learned how to grow a SCOBY (which is the “mother” or the thing that ferments the tea. Once you have a SCOBY, it’s a snap (although it takes a week to ferment) to make your own kombucha. Here’s how:
The idea for me, with making my own, was that it would be easier to make it to my own taste. I discovered that green tea makes it a lot more palatable than black tea, and also that doing a second ferment with some fruit and mint leaves went a long way.
So, my learning curve with kombucha is… curving. But I still don’t love it. I am, however, discovering other ways of integrating it into my diet without drinking it.
5 Uses for Kombucha
Vegan Kombucha Pretzel Knots: in this case, kombucha makes a great leavener for these home-made pretzels.
Kombucha Salad Dressing: Sub out the vinegar in your fave vinagrette recipe with kombucha. It works great! Here’s a recipe.
Fruit fly traps: It’s not so bad now that the weather is cooling a little, but this summer (and most summers) fruit fly infestations in my kitchen are something I really hate! To be safe, I move my compost outside, and I also make sure I store my fruit in the fridge instead of on the counter. But kombucha makes a great fruit fly trap. I use a small glass, and pour some kombucha into the bottom, maybe about 1″ worth. Then I cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and pull it down tight. Finally, using a skewer, I poke holes in the top of the plastic wrap. The fruit flies are attracted to the sweetness and the fermentation of the kombucha (better that than my wine!) and crawl in through the holes and either can’t get out or drown.
Cocktails! Okay, now we’re talking!! Here’s the thing: kombucha is brewed and fermented just like a lot of your favorite alcholic bevvies. It does have a very tiny amount of naturally occurring alcohol in it, about 1%. Kombucha goes great in mixed drinks, especially with cocktails like a Moscow Mule, which uses something a lot like kombucha called Ginger Beer. Here are some to try.
In the garden: Kombcuha has properties that help acidify, and it can be useful for everything from spraying on plants to deter pests, to using to water your garden, to burying leftover SCOBYs in your soil.
What’s your favorite way to use Kombucha (other than drinking it)? Share in the comments below.