11 Incredibly Clever Uses for Leftover SCOBY
(and a few bonus tips on how NOT to use SCOBY)
If you enjoy making homemade Kombucha, then you probably have some leftover SCOBY stacking up. Luckily there are many worthwhile uses for SCOBY so whatever you do, don’t throw it out! I was once in your shoes, and because I like to find smart ways to reduce waste and reuse materials, I spent quite a bit of time researching all the cool ways to use SCOBY.
First of all, if you can’t use it right away, that’s alright. You can store SCOBY with a little of the kombucha tea in an airtight jar at room temperature. We lovingly refer to this as the SCOBY hotel. The hotel fills up fast though, and you can only give away so much to friends and family who are ready to jump on the homemade kombucha train.
It’s probably not surprising to discover that SCOBY is not only safe to eat but incredibly healthy for you. SCOBY is full of probiotics and insoluble fiber, both of which aid in digestion and can help you reach optimal health. It has no calories, lowers cholesterol, and helps regulate blood sugar. Much like kombucha, the SCOBY taste is acidic, tart, and a bit sweet.
Its rubbery nature makes it a little tough to just dump into a recipe though so you have to work for it. Many people suggest blending it into a puree and storing it in an airtight container to keep on hand for recipe use.
Here are eleven great ideas for leftover SCOBY, some editable, and some not.
#1 Fruit Leather
This healthy probiotic-rich treat can replace the chemical-filled store-bought version your kids always ask for. When dehydrated at a low temperature, the SCOBY maintains its healthy acids and bacterial activity. Simply take 2 cups of diced fruit, 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups SCOBY puree, and a teaspoon of your favorite spice (such as cinnamon) and blend. Make thin layers and dehydrate 16 to 36 hours on the lowest setting.
#2 Vegan Jerky
You don’t need meat to make a good jerky! Make savory vegan jerky as a healthy snack using a dehydrator and some spicy full-flavor marinade. Get the full SCOBY Jerky Recipe. SCOBY jerky makes a great TV or movie snack for all ages.
#3 Vegan Substitute for Fish in Sushi
The rubbery texture of the kombucha mother is very close to that of raw squid or raw fish, making it the perfect seafood substitute for DIY sushi. Since sushi rice already has some rice vinegar in it, the taste will not be all that different.
#4 Smoothies (purees)
You can add SCOBY puree into any smoothie to boost its nutritional value. Use strongly flavored fruits and added spices to help hide the tart flavor if you want. This is a great ingredient to secretly slip into kid’s smoothies for added health benefits without them even knowing. Hey, sometimes we moms have to get creative!
Applesauce is another great place to hide some SCOBY puree, the sweetness of the apple and the spicy taste of nutmeg or cinnamon will cover up your secret ingredient. You can try adding blended SCOBY to lots of sauces and dressings and see what unique creations you can create.
#6 SCOBY Pet Treats
Your pets and backyard farm animals can also enjoy SCOBY, either in its original raw form or pureed and incorporated into homemade treats. Dogs, chickens, and goats all especially enjoy SCOBY treats. Just as SCOBY is very healthy for humans, the same health benefits are passed on to your animals.
#7 SCOBY in the Garden
SCOBY also makes a great compost and garden fertilizer. SCOBY attracts bugs, so it’s best to ground it up and layer it under the soil of gardens and outdoor plants.
This is a great way to use a large quantity of SCOBY up quickly.
During my research, I also found quite a few unconventional uses for SCOBY that included:
#8 Brown Sugar SCOBY Body Scrub
Whip up a batch of homemade body scrub using brown sugar, olive oil, SCOBY, and oats. This makes a great DIY gift, or you can even use it as a craft to sell. You can experiment with different scents and ingredients; here is the SCOBY body scrub recipe to follow.
#9 Dried SCOBY Jewelry
Check out this amazing article about cheesemaker turned artist, Sacha Laurin, one of the only people in the world making dried SCOBY into wearable jewelry. This is a fantastic gift for the true hippie in your life. It would certainly be a one-of-a-kind gift.
#10 SCOBY Face Masks
People that drink kombucha and use SCOBY in making face masks claim that doing so improves their skin, giving a fresh, natural glow. While science hasn’t weighed in on the dermatological benefits of SCOBY face masks, enthusiasts state that the masks detoxify and hydrate the skin and even make them look younger by improving skin elasticity.
#11 SCOBY Clothes
I even saw SCOBY being used to make clothes (it is fibrous after all).
Suzanne Lee is a fashion designer that gave a TED talk on using SCOBY to make clothes. It’s her vision to be able to create sustainable clothing using this material. “Imagine leather that’s as lightweight and transparent as a butterfly wing or has the natural stretch of rubber,” Lee says. “Or imagine a material with the dynamic responsiveness of the skin of a chameleon.” You can read the full article about SCOBY clothing to learn more. The fashion industry has recently come under fire for being incredibly wasteful so new sustainable materials are highly sought after.
All in all, there are quite a few incredible uses for these cloudy probiotic-filled rubber disks! Don’t forget you can always use them for experimenting with making new unique flavors of kombucha. If you come up with a winning flavor combination, make sure to share it in the comments below.
Bonus tips: How NOT to use SCOBY
Do not use SCOBY on indoor plants because it is known for attracting fruit flies and you’ll end up with an infestation on your hands.
Do not try to use SCOBY as a scalp treatment because the bits of dried SCOBY will be challenging to wash out. The fibrous blend dries hard onto your strands of hair and becomes difficult to remove.