Can You Freeze Kombucha? Your Quick Guide – Grow Your Pantry

Can You Freeze Kombucha? Your Quick Guide

by Susan Grey on December 13, 2019

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Kombucha, otherwise known as fermented tea, is a preserved beverage that you can freeze at home. Being over 2000 years old, kombucha hasn’t traditionally been frozen, but now with modern freezers has become a new storage method. Kombucha popsicles and slushies can make for the perfect summer treat, and we’ll cover all of the popular reasons to freeze, practical freezing advice, questions, and recipes for these summer treats.
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Reasons To Freeze Kombucha

There are many reasons why freezing kombucha can be a great way to keep your kombucha, here are 4 reasons to freeze kombucha.
Last Longer - If you live in a hot climate, it can be hard to stop kombucha from further fermenting and becoming vinegar. Although kombucha can technically last forever, it slowly ferments before turning into vinegar and becoming too sour to enjoy. Therefore freezing could be a great idea to keep your brew tasting the same.
Enjoyable Summer Treat - Kombucha makes the perfect beverage to turn into popsicles, ice lollies, and slushies. It’s sweet, fruity, and tasty - ideal as a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day. 
More Space - If you’re living in a small apartment, don’t have a fridge big enough, or don’t have a basement, then it’s easy to leave your kombucha out to spoil. You could bottle it before adding to the freezer to free up some space.
Batch Brewing - Brewing a large batch can be the ideal solution; you only have to wash, clean, and make once. But often you’re then left with too much kombucha leftover without knowing what to do with it. Add some in the freezer for later!

 

What Is Freezing?

In science, the technical definition would be that ‘freezing is when a liquid changes state to become solid.’ Whereas in the context of food and drink, ‘freezing is the process of reducing the temperature below freezing point, of food or drink, to preserve it.’ When the food or drink is reduced in temperature, the bacteria become inactive, so unable to breed harmful bacteria. 

 

Does Freezing Kill Probiotics?

Often many drink kombucha for the purported health benefits. Central to that claim is the probiotic, bacteria, and yeast in kombucha. We’ll delve into the facts to better understand if this claim has any validity, or to consider it before freezing.
When freezing, does it kill all of the health benefits?
The Debate - There is some controversy as many people have stated that if you “slow freeze” kombucha, the bacteria will die, whereas if you “flash freeze” it keeps the good bacteria intact. Therefore we assume the points below that the kombucha has been flash frozen.
      • Slow Freezing - Slow freezing is the typical process of adding kombucha to the freezer before letting it slowly reduce in temperature before freezing. This process is not advised.
      • Flash Freeze - Rapidly decreasing the temperature of the kombucha to achieve near-instant freezing.
Temperature Bacteria Die - When frozen, bacteria become inactive but don’t die. You can think of inactive as the same as dormant; it will still be inside the kombucha, just not doing anything.
Do They Come Back Alive? When you thaw the food or drink, the same bacteria will still be there and reactivate, which means that you’ll get the same bacteria and probiotic content as when it had just been freshly brewed.

 

Considerations Before Freezing

Before you freeze your kombucha, you should consider a few points:
Time Period - You can only leave your live kombucha in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you exceed this amount of time, you risk the cultures, bacteria, and probiotics dying.
Container Or Storage Vessel - If you’re going to freeze a commercially produced or store bought bottle of kombucha, then you can freeze it in that bottle. If you’re going to freeze home-brewed kombucha, we would suggest a glass bowl or glass freezer container.

 

What Temperature Does Kombucha Freeze At?

Kombucha typically freezes at 0ºC. It is a water-based beverage, therefore, freezes when below 0º. If you have a brew that is high in alcohol content, such as kombucha beer or hard kombucha, then it may either not freeze or take a lot lower temperature due to the alcohol content. 

How To Flash Freeze Kombucha

As slow freezing kills the bacteria, probiotics, and potential benefits of kombucha tea, we will only show the method for flash freezing.
Equipment & Ingredients Required
      • Ice 
      • Salt
      • Large Bowl Or Vessel (for ice)
      • Small Bowl (for kombucha)
      • Spoon
Method For Flash Freezing
      • Fill the large bowl with ice and sprinkle ¼ cup (32g) of salt over it
      • Add your kombucha into the smaller bowl
      • Place your small bowl into the big bowl and ensure that ice is surrounding it (use a spoon and NOT your hands)
      • When frozen add the small bowl of kombucha to the freezer with a lid on top
      • Mark the frozen date and remove to thaw within 3 months

 

    How To Thaw Kombucha

    Thawing kombucha is a very simple method to be able to drink it again.
    • When you’re ready to drink the kombucha
    • Remove from the freezer and place in the fridge
    • Consume the same day

      Kombucha Popsicles

      A quick and easy recipe to make a delicious snack or post-dinner dessert. We'e said to add your favorite berries to the mix, we would suggest blueberries, but others work too!
      Equipment & Ingredients Required
      • 1 Cup (120g) Of Your Favourite Berries
      • 1 Cup (240ml) Of Your Kombucha
      • Blender
      • Popsicle Mold
      Method
      • Add your kombucha and berries to your blender
      • Blend until a puree consistency
      • Add the liquid to your popsicle molds
      • Freeze until ready to lick!

      Kombucha Slushies

      A kombucha slushie is a great drink to cool off or use as a cocktail mixer too. You can either use frozen kombucha chunks, frozen fruit, or both! Experiment to decide what your favorite kombucha slushie is.
      Equipment & Ingredients Required
      • 1 Cup (250g) Of (Frozen) Kombucha
      • 1 Cup (250g) Of (Frozen) Berries
      • Blender
      Method 
      • Add both the kombucha and berries to the blender
      • Pulse the blender until the consistency you desire
      • Pour into your cup and enjoy
      [Note: Drink before it melts!]

      Freezing SCOBYs

      For the long-term storage of a SCOBY, it recommended to use a SCOBY hotel. You can convert a mason jar into a SCOBY Hotel relatively easily. You can learn about SCOBY Hotels Here. However, if you choose to freeze your SCOBY, we’ve created a mini-guide below.
      Can You Freeze A SCOBY?
      It’s not recommended to freeze a SCOBY as it may kill the bacteria and yeast; after thawing, it’s possible that it would not ferment your batch correctly. Slow freezing (just adding to your freezer) risks crystal formation within your SCOBY and also killing the culture too.
      Method For Freezing
      If you’re going to freeze a SCOBY, although it’s not recommended, it’s suggested to use the fast freeze method. This keeps as much of the bacteria alive after thawing as possible, giving you the best chance to brew another batch with the SCOBY.

       

      In summary, there are many reasons to freeze kombucha, for popsicles, slushies, a long term storage solution, and freeing up extra space in your fridge. There are many reasons to freeze as well as enjoy.
      If you're looking to get started with brewing kombucha check our all of our reviewed and recommended products here: Kombucha Recommended Products. 

       

      Interested in learning more about kombucha? 
      Check out these articles:
      Recommended Kombucha Products
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