Can You Eat A SCOBY? The Comprehensive Answer
by Susan Grey on October 04, 2019
Yes a SCOBY is safe to eat, be warned, most that try it don’t like the taste. Many chefs have experimented with creating dishes with SCOBYs. Some have even started adding it to recipes to either infuse a dish or use as a vegan fish substitute.
A SCOBY is just a big clump of yeast and bacteria. During the ferment, the SCOBY grows to become larger and creates a baby SCOBY. At the end of the brew, it’s grown and ready to eat.
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What Does A SCOBY Taste Like?
The closest food to compare it to is a gummy candy. Another description may be tough and chewy leather. It doesn’t sound so appealing!
Taste & Flavor:
The taste will be heavily influenced by the taste and type of tea you brewed. Flavors cold include robust black tea, green tea, or blends of tea.
The other strong flavor will be an overwhelming sweet taste. As kombucha is a sweet tea, there is a lot of added sugar, the SCOBY may absorb some when brewing.
Chewy like a gummy sweet. The individual layers of bacteria and yeast sandwich together to produce a chewy texture.
How To Store A SCOBY Before Eating
SCOBY Hotel: It’s possible to store your fresh or older SCOBYs inside a hotel. Be sure to keep it in room temperature and regularly change the starter fluid. This will keep them fresh and active, ready for when you decide to eat them.
Freshly Brewed: straight after the batch has finished brewing, when you remove a SCOBY from the vessel you’re able to eat it immediately.
What’s A SCOBY Made Of?
SCOBY stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, which means that the SCOBY is a big clump of both bacteria and yeast. All bound together in layers that attach to form the larger SCOBY.
SCOBY’s can grow to be extremely large, while others as small 3 inches. Both are made from the same process, with the only difference being size.
Conventional measurements of nutrition, suggest that a SCOBY contains very little. Being low in fat, carbohydrate, and salt. The only nutrient it’s rich in is fibre. This may seem odd as you hear about all of the health benefits of SCOBY. The alleged health benefits are said to be contained in the micronutrient and bacterial level.
Dietary Requirements & Kombucha SCOBYs
If you’re thinking of snacking on a kombucha SCOBY, for the bacterial and health benefits, it may be suitable for most diets. For specialist dietary requirements check with your physician first.
5 Potential Benefits Of Eating A SCOBY
1. Gut Health. Within a SCOBY lactic acid is formed during the ferment. These lactic acid microbes are reported to cause certain probiotic benefits, which have been noted for their probiotic and gut health benefits. Very similar to another popular drink that improve gut health: Yakult.
2. Contains Antioxidants. The SCOBY has been shown to contain antioxidants. Antioxidants have been linked to an array of health benefits, including protecting cells from free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to many health problems and diseases.
3. Green Tea. As kombucha is often steeped in green tea before brewing, some say that you could get the health benefits of green tea in this form. Purported affects include improved brain function, higher antioxidant levels, increased fat burning, and lowering anxiety.
4. Immune System. With the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY, they interact with your immune system, with the potential to improve it.
5. Tea Benefits. You can brew kombucha with many types of tea. If you’re consuming a fresh SCOBY that has been steeping in tea, you may get some of these health benefits. Check out the type of tea you’re consuming and the related benefits.
What To Be Aware Of Before Eating
A few things to understand and consider before consuming:
A Bad Brew. Kombucha needs to brew at a pH between 2.2-4.5. A higher pH may allow the growth of harmful bacteria; therefore if you eat a SCOBY that has come from a tea outside of this range, there may be health risks.
Alcohol. Check the alcohol content as homebrew could be high. By eating a SCOBY, you may be consuming alcohol.
Effect On Stomachs. Limit the amount you eat as your stomach may become upset after eating. If you eat a lot, the bacteria could upset the microbe balance in your stomach.
What To Look For Before Eating
Just Been Brewed. It’s best to eat a fresh SCOBY if it’s just created a tasty batch. You can take the mother or baby SCOBY to eat, the fresher the SCOBY, the better.
Smells Like Kombucha. Be sure to inspect your SCOBY to make sure it doesn’t smell bad, rotten, or gone off.
Looks Healthy. Thoroughly inspect the SCOBY to see if has any mold, or abnormal growth on it.
Juice has been switched out. If you’re taking from a SCOBY Hotel, check to ensure the juice it’s sat in is fresh, gets changed regularly and not gone bad.
Hasn’t been brewed too many time. Every SCOBY can ferment a finite number of batches, often between 6-12. If your SCOBY no longer can brew batches correctly, then we would not suggest consuming it.
How To Eat A SCOBY
There is an infinite number of ways you can prepare a SCOBY. You could test making sushi, turning it into jerky or even trying to make vegan calamari! Here is a list of 5 popular ways you can eat or incorporate SCOBY into your food.
1. Vegan Sushi. Using the SCOBY to replace the raw fish or sashimi on top of sushi rolls. The texture is similar to that of fish when sliced exceptionally thinly.
2. Jerky. By slicing your SCOBY into thin strips before dehydrating, you’re able to infuse with marinates and flavors. You can enjoy your vegan jerky with a dip or on its own.
3. Raw. Just by biting a chunk off and enjoying. Probably not the tastiest or enjoyable way to consume. When biting into a large SCOBY, it can taste like an endless amount of chewy leather.
4. Ice Cream. Ice cream infused with a SCOBY doesn’t sound the most appealing, but there are a few recipes!
5. Probiotic Pills. Enjoy by dehydrating strips followed by grinding it down into a fine powder. After this, you can take a small amount daily.
SCOBY And Pets
Can Dogs Eat SCOBYs?
Yes, dogs can eat SCOBYs.
The most popular method of consumption is by dehydrating into jerky and then feeding as a snack or treat. Dogs should not be given vast amounts as it could upset their stomach. A small chunk is preferable.
Another method to eat is just fresh out of the brew. Be careful here to make sure you only give your dog a minimal amount. If you give a large amount, they may be consuming a lot of caffeine or alcohol. We would advise cutting a piece off no larger than a teaspoon before giving your dog a taste.
Other Animals & SCOBYs
Other animals can consume SCOBYs in the same way. You could mix it up in their feed dehydrated or fresh. Typical farm animals such as chickens, donkeys, and cows can eat part of a SCOBY.
Can You Eat A Scoby If You Have Candida?
Candida thrives off of sugar. If you have pre-existing candida, we would not recommend to drink it. Although kombucha contains many healthy bacteria, it also contains yeast that has the potential to contribute to candida overgrowth.
Can You Eat A Scoby If You Have Diabetes?
Kombucha SCOBYs may contain lots of sugar. Because SCOBYs grow in the fermented tea, they feed on sugars. When you finish fermenting, not all of the sugars may have been eaten. Therefore if you remove a SCOBY from the brew to eat, you may be consuming sugar. As a sugar sensitive disease, dietetics should be careful about eating a SCOBY.