What Is Kombucha Vinegar? Plus 8 Ways to Use It

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Kombucha vinegar is over-fermented kombucha. It is very sour and tangy. You can use it in the kitchen, as a beauty product, or to clean. This potent kombucha product is abundant in uses and health benefits.

Is Kombucha a Type of Vinegar?

Kombucha belongs to the vinegar family and creates organic acids, like acetic acid, as part of the fermentation process. Store-bought, raw kombucha has a low percentage of acetic acid—around 1%. When you create kombucha vinegar, it has about 2-3% acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar, in comparison, has 5% acetic acid.

What Are the Health Benefits of Kombucha Vinegar?

Kombucha vinegar has beneficial acetic acid and probiotics. Acetic acid, in particular, can slow blood sugar spikes when consumed as part of a meal. It also helps:

  • Boost your immune system.
  • Lower cholesterol.
  • Lower the risk of heart disease.
  • With weight loss.
  • Reduce blood pressure.

Acetic acid is also antimicrobial. It can aid in treating some infections and skin irritations and can help prevent candida yeast overgrowth.

How to Make Kombucha Vinegar

Kombucha vinegar is easy to make. All you need to do is over-ferment your kombucha batch— accidentally or intentionally.

  1. Brew your new batch of kombucha as you usually would, add your SCOBY, and cover.
  2. Let your kombucha tea sit at room temperature for at least one month. You’ll notice the liquid starts to evaporate. It will become concentrated and very fragrant.

That’s it. Kombucha vinegar does not need a second fermentation. After one month, taste your kombucha vinegar and decide if you want to use it at that time. Let it sit for another week or two if you want it to get even more fragrant and tangy.

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Fermenting kombucha

Transfer your finished kombucha vinegar into glass or spray bottles, depending on how you intend to use it. If you’re sensitive to the sugars left in traditional kombucha tea, try using kombucha vinegar since virtually all of the sugars have been fermented out.

8 Ways to Use Kombucha Vinegar

Kombucha vinegar has healing properties and healthy enzymes. If you find full-strength kombucha vinegar too strong, dilute it with a bit of water. Here are a few creative ways to use this vinegar powerhouse:

  • As a shot to boost your gut function: drink 2-3 tablespoons of kombucha vinegar before a meal to help with digestion and keep insulin levels steady. However, drinks high in acid can ruin the enamel of your teeth. Consult a healthcare physician before taking shots of kombucha vinegar.
  • As a hair rinse: acetic acid helps clean your scalp and remove residue. It helps condition your hair and can reduce frizziness.
    • Mix 1/2 cup of kombucha vinegar with 2 cups of water. After shampooing, spray your hair with the mixture and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse your hair with clean water.
  • As a facial toner: acetic acid’s antifungal properties make it an excellent acne or skin blemish treatment. It is also astringent, making it a great deep facial cleanser. It will gently exfoliate your skin and remove dead skin cells.
    • Dip a cotton ball in kombucha vinegar and dab or lightly rub it over your face. Follow with a facial lotion.
  • As a salad dressing: substitute the apple cider vinegar with kombucha vinegar on your next salad. Make a vinaigrette with olive oil, kombucha vinegar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
  • As a marinade: pickle veggies or marinate meat. Substitute the ACV with kombucha vinegar. Since kombucha vinegar doesn’t have as high an acid content as ACV, don’t use it for long-term products like canning. Using it as a brine overnight with dishes you’ll consume the following day is okay.
  • Make fire cider: it’s an immune-boosting tonic made from garlic, ginger, horseradish, onions, turmeric, citrus, and herbs. Infuse these in kombucha vinegar, and you have a natural way to aid your recovery from your next cold.
  • Cleaning spray for your bathroom or kitchen: add your kombucha to a spray bottle and spray like any cleanser. Wipe with a soft cloth. Kombucha vinegar has a lower acetic acid concentration than white vinegar, so it won’t clean quite as well. However, it can still be a beneficial addition to your cleaning routine. Vinegar is NOT recommended for marble, stone, or granite.
  • As your starter culture for your kombucha brew or your SCOBY hotel: kickstart your next batch of kombucha with 1/2 cup of kombucha vinegar. Or, if you have extra SCOBYs, set them up in a SCOBY hotel with kombucha vinegar. They will keep for months to years.
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SCOBY hotel

Kombucha Vinegar vs. Apple Cider Vinegar

Both kombucha vinegar and raw apple cider vinegar offer many health benefits. They help to lower blood sugar levels after meals. They can also aid in weight loss and help reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Both contain sediment, made of yeast and probiotics, with good bacteria.

That said, they also have a few key differences, including the following:

Kombucha vinegarApple cider vinegar
Made from fermented sweet teaMade from fermented apples
Fermented with a kombucha SCOBYFermented with sugar and apple pieces
Not widely available in storesCan be found at most grocery stores
Has approximately 2-3% of acetic acidHas about 5% of acetic acid

Can You Substitute Kombucha for Vinegar in Recipes?

You shouldn’t substitute store-bought kombucha for vinegar in recipes. Regular raw kombucha has a low acid content and will change the taste of your recipe. You can, however, substitute kombucha vinegar for vinegar in a recipe. This is the perfect use if you’ve accidentally let your booch ferment too long!

Sarah Pearce

Sarah first tried kombucha in 2015 and she was hooked. Her favorite flavor is ginger, but cranberry comes in a close second. She made her own for many years and loved experimenting with fruit flavors.

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