* Please note that this blog remains up as a resource. However, this blog is currently on hiatus until further notice. For more information, please read this blog post. Thank you and happy kombucha brewing, drinking, and SCOBY trading! Lots of love. ~Annabelle *

Friday, February 12, 2010

Q&A: What to do with extra kombucha mushrooms?

I've touched on this topic before, but thought it was a subject worth revisiting. What do you do with all of your extra kombucha mushrooms?

If you are brewing using the continuous method, extra SCOBYs may not be a concern. But if you are brewing traditionally, you may have more kombucha mothers than you know what to do with!

For starters:
  • I usually have two kombucha mushrooms going per brew container, and the number of kombucha mushrooms you can have fermenting per container can vary depending on personal preference, the size of your brew, and the size and thickness of your kombucha mushrooms. You don't want the mushrooms to get too crowded, so experiment with what works according to your SCOBYs and brewing vessel.
  • To keep or not to keep- I've found that the younger mushrooms (which are the lighter, more cream-colored ones that form at the surface of your brew) and the mushrooms with a more uniform thickness tend to perform better. So keep your preferred mushrooms for brewing, and for extra mushrooms that you need to find another use for, read some of my suggestions below.
Some options for extra SCOBYs:
  • It's the perfect time to experiment with your extra kombucha mushrooms! Try different sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup, or try herbal, flavored, or exotic teas. How about coffee kombucha? (Coffee kombucha links here and here).
  • Give extra kombucha mothers to your friends and spread the kombucha love!
  • Offer extra kombucha mushrooms to others through Kombucha Fuel on Facebook, The Worldwide Kombucha Exchange, Etsy.com, Craigslist, or Freecycle mailing lists
  • Store extra mushrooms in the fridge in a "kombucha hotel" for backups or to distribute later.
  • Ever tried eating a SCOBY?
    -Eating a kombucha mushroom by itself is not something I would probably do again. However, you may try cutting it up and sprinkling it on your food, or use it as a garnish. Alternatively, my friend suggests blending up kombucha mushrooms into smoothies.
  • Feeding SCOBYs to dogs and pets is common
  • Happy Herbalist lists many creative ideas and recipes for what to do with extra mushrooms, including making "drum heads and leather craft[s]!"
  • Compost extra kombucha mushrooms
What do you do with your extra kombucha mothers?


Saralyn said...

Great site! Thanks for all the tips.

I gave a scoby to the dog to play with once. She ate it, then threw it up! So now I compost them.

Annabelle Ho said...

Thanks, I'm glad that you find the information useful!

I never heard of a dog throwing up from a SCOBY, that's too bad! But composting is a great alternative!

Anonymous said...

can we share link? Mine is:


Cheers from Indonesian Kombucha Brewer :D

Dena said...

I offered it to the dog. She wasn't interested. I just started with kombucha, so maybe next time I'll be more adventurous with my extra instead of composting it.

Annabelle Ho said...

Sounds good Dena! :) Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! This is the best discussion I've found online about what to do with all my extra SCOBYs. My biggest question .... is a SCOBY OK to eat? Is it healthy? Dangerous if we eat too much? Anyone know?

Annabelle Ho said...

Thanks! People do say that SCOBYs are ok to eat and that they are healthy to eat, and I wrote about my experience eating a SCOBY here http://www.kombuchafuel.com/2009/06/kombucha-gourmet-style-and-city-feed.html. Not sure about how much to eat would be too much though....

Olivedoyle said...

I've blended bits of scoby in my smoothies before. I figure it's just more probiotics!

Before my dog passed away (from old age, not from eating bad scobys, lol!), I used to dry them out and then cut them into strips to give to him. He loved his "kombucha jerky" treats! I think the secret is drying them out; he prefered the taste/texture of that to the fresh/slimy ones.

Assi Rose said...

can you stir fry it? like any mushroom?

Annabelle Ho said...

@Olivedoyle That's great to hear. Thanks for sharing! :)

@Assi Rose I've never stir fried a SCOBY before, but marlo here wrote a comment about his experience doing it! http://www.kombuchafuel.com/2009/04/kombucha-mushrooms-come-in-all-shapes.html. Sounds like it would be fun to try sometime!

Anonymous said...

Hi; I eat my spear shrooms sliced into about 1" strips and sprinckled with unrefined sugar. I leave these strips in the fridge over night then I cover with ground Almonds and chunks of avocardo and apple' they are absolutly de-lightfull. and no I have never ever been ill through doing this.

MR Wootton; UK.

Anonymous said...

Mine make a trip thro the blender with a little water until it's like applesauce. A tablespoon of scoby with a thin drizzle of molasses is mixed in with their grain. This is done for about a week after deworming.

Anonymous said...

I offered a piece of scoby to our dog but she wasn't interested. I think it was the vinegar-ish smell that turned her off. Thinking about rinsing one off, blending it up and mixing it in her food. I tried dehydrating some strips of it before but she still wasn't interested. :(

Annabelle Ho said...

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences!

That's too bad that your dog hasn't been interested in eating SCOBYs so far. If your dog remains uninterested, as I mentioned in my post, you could try giving away your spare cultures, or compost them if possible. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I also offered our dogs a rinsed scoby and they weren't interested. I dried strips and they still weren't. My question is what's with putting it into the compost? What benefit is this? Our winters get cold so they would freeze outside. Would there still be live probiotics after freezing? Thanks!

Annabelle Ho said...


I think that a major benefit of putting SCOBYs in the compost is that it is one way to handle excess cultures, without putting them in the trash! I think that it is possible that there will be probiotics after the SCOBYs freeze, but I cannot say for sure.

On another note, I recently saw this article on clothes and shoes made from kombucha cultures: http://blog.ted.com/2014/02/05/the-skirt-and-shoe-made-from-kombucha.

Making SCOBY snacks could also be fun! http://thespunmonkey.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/scoby-snacks.

Alex said...

Paul Stamets talks about a hat he has, that is made from a mushroom. I wonder; has anyone tried making clothing from extra SCOBY?

Annabelle Ho said...

Hi Alex,

Thanks for sharing. Yes, designer Suzanne Lee has made clothing from kombucha cultures! You can view her TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_lee_grow_your_own_clothes

Maggi said...

Hi Annabelle,

I'm a Kombucha brewer from years ago, then a country move stopped the process. Many years on and another new country I have managed to find a 'mother' and now have two constant brews. I am inundated with mothers and really need to clean out my fridges to make room for other important food! I live in the tropics and am sure the Kombucha is keeping us healthy in the constant heat and humidity!

The first time I tried giving it to the dog I gave him a chunky bit which was still covered with liquid.... he spat that out so I rinsed it all and diced it quite small.... he loved it!

My next thing is to blend it into our daily smoothie.... but your blog has given me so many links for other ways to consume the 'mother' - I think now I don't mind having so many! Since it's already vinegary and sweet, will get my husband to rustle up a sweet and sour and let you know!

BTW, I am IIN CHC as well but where I live next to no-one is interested in healthy living :(

Maggi Gough

Annabelle Ho said...

Hi Maggi,

That's great that you are an IIN CHC. It's too bad that people are not interested in healthy living where you live.

I'm glad that you are experimenting with your extra cultures! Thanks for sharing, and yes, keep me posted!