It’s not something you can get at Bed, Bath and Beyond. And thankfully, it doesn’t cost much money. In fact, it can be purchased at your local supermarket, or easily made at home for super cheap. I’m talking about that fizzy, tasty, probiotic beverage called kombucha.
Now wait. WAIT. Before you label me a hippie nutjob and tell me I’m insane, just know that kombucha and kombucha vinegar (kombucha that has a higher acidity than regular kombucha) work very effectively in many different situations in your kitchen, bathroom and entire house, often replacing toxic chemicals. Here are just a few of the ways kombucha can be utilized outside of downing it by the glassful:
A Diesel Household Cleaner
When kombucha is left to ferment for a while, it eventually becomes acidic to the point of resembling vinegar. As a cleaner, kombucha vinegar is super powerful (especially as a glass or tile cleaner), yet non-toxic, making it the ideal cleaner if you have kids or pets. A quick and pleasant smelling kombucha cleaner can be easily made by combining:
- ½ cup kombucha vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp. salt
- A few drops of essential oil (tea tree or orange work great)
A Tangy Salad Dressing
A salad is not complete until it’s been tossed with a great salad dressing. If you hear anyone say otherwise, I would advise you to distrust them IMMEDIATELY. Using kombucha, you can concoct a refreshingly tangy, healthy, and probiotic dressing in just a few minutes. Here’s one tasty recipe for a Honey Dijon dressing crafted with kombucha:
- ¼ cup kombucha vinegar
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Pepper to taste
Here are a few other fermented and probiotic salad dressings to try out.
A Laundry Hero
I’ve had this happen to me, and so have you...and it’s okay to admit it. We’ve all had clothes that smell like Satan. ALL the time. No matter how many times you wash them, the clothes continue to smell like eternal damnation. Before giving them the heave-ho, give kombucha a chance to solve the problem. Next color wash, throw a half cup to a full cup (depending on the size of the load) of kombucha vinegar in along with your regular detergent. 9/10 times this will neutralize any odors in the clothing. And while it might seem counter-intuitive to cover your clothes in acrid vinegar, give it a shot. Satan must be destroyed.
Yep. Believe it or not, kombucha can be used to make ketchup. I was pretty skeptical at first, until I actually made some of my own. And damn. It’s good, if not better than the stuff you get in the bottle. Here’s the recipe:
- 12 ounces of tomato paste
- 1 cup of kombucha vinegar
- ⅛ tsp. black pepper
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ⅛ tsp. cinnamon (optional)
- ¼-½ cup raw sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
Whisk ingredients very well. Store in a covered jar. Refrigerate and enjoy!
Gently Adding Soil Acidity
Plants are finicky. If the soil’s pH isn’t perfect, your plants, berries and vegetables could be dead within days. That’s why it’s super important to monitor and tweak the acidity of your soil before and during the growing season. If you’re looking to gently increase the acidity of your soil (lower the pH), combine a cup of kombucha vinegar with a gallon of water, and pour the mixture onto the soil where the plants are, or will be. Then test the pH and make adjustments if necessary. Here’s a great list of what soil pH you should have for various plants and vegetables.
A Smoothie Tartener-Upper
Adding kombucha to your next smoothie is the perfect way to get some extra tartness and nutrients into your drink. 2-3 tablespoons of kombucha is usually a good amount for keeping a healthy green smoothie from tasting overly bitter. But do what tastes good to you and experiment!
An Organic, Non-Toxic Herbicide
Say what? It’s true! Kombucha is safe enough to drink, yet powerful enough to keep most weeds at bay. Mix 1/2 gallon of heavily fermented kombucha vinegar, 1 cup table salt and 1/2 teaspoon of organic dish soap, and spray directly onto the weeds. For well-rooted weeds, this method may not work, as they are mean-spirited chlorophyllic jerks. That said, most little ones should be gone within a few days! As a quick disclaimer, this technique should only be used away from intended plants. For example, I use it along stone pathways and driveways.
A Non-Terrifying Hair Conditioner
Look at the back of a bottle of shampoo or conditioner and try to pronounce the ingredients. Polyquaternium polymers? What the hell are those?! Using a mixture of ½ kombucha and ½ water after shampooing or conditioning will help restore some of the shine and strength that the other two have stripped away, all in a healthy, organic way.
A Slightly Strange Vegan Jerky
Yes, this is an oxymoron. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be weird AND tasty. When you homebrew kombucha, you know just how quickly those SCOBYs reproduce. Soon, you’re overrun with a surplus that you don’t know what to do with. In these instances, SCOBY jerky is the solution! All it takes is your favorite marinade (like Ginger Garlic or Maple BBQ) and a low and slow (105F) dehydrating process to keep the good probiotic bacteria intact. Give it a try, and the phrase “vegan jerky” might seem a little less oxymoronic.
Were some of these were super weird? Do you have any other ways that you use kombucha? Let us know!