If you make your own Kombucha then chances are you have plenty of extra SCOBY friends hanging around. You might have them hanging out in a SCOBY hotel. Or possibly, you get creative and find other things to do with them.
There are quite a few blog posts out there which list all the wonderful things you can do with those extra bundles of probiotic joy. Some seemed plausible. Others seemed a little out there. But I’m up for most anything and thought I would give some of the suggestions I stumbled on a try.
Ahem. I now know what NOT to do with a SCOBY.
Today I am passing on some words of wisdom. Wisdom I gained through trial and error. Lots and lots of error. Do as you please but consider yourself warned…
4 Things To Never Do With Your Extra SCOBY
#1 – Do Not Try To Turn Your SCOBY Into A Dry/Oily Scalp Treatment
The idea sounded like a good one! The power of the SCOBY when applied to a dry scalp was apparently “mind-blowing.” Dry, itchy scalp would be a thing of the past. Your hair would shine like never before. It would be soft, bouncy, and ah-maze-ing! I could buy into this. After all, the SCOBY does contain lots of beneficial goodness.
Turns out is creates a HUGE mess, especially if your hair is longer than 1/32 of an inch. As my grandma used to say, “Good grief a-Gertie!”
The general consensus was to put your SCOBY in a blender with a little Kombucha. Blend it all up until you had a thickish, creamy soupy consistency. Then apply it to your scalp (dry) and let it sit for about an hour underneath a shower cap.
I should have known that there was going to be a problem with this method. The little bits of SCOBY chunks had me raising an eyebrow and yet, I still applied it my scalp. Stupid me.
4 weeks later I FINALLY got every last piece of SCOBY out of my hair. Yes, 4 weeks later. What a nightmare. Those little chunks of SCOBY clung to my hair like a dung beetle clings to, well, dung! It was a horrible experience and no, my scalp and hair were none of things promised to me. I looked like I was shedding chunks of scalp from some bizarre flesh eating disease. My hair was dull and bogged down with SCOBY pieces. I would drop little chunks of sticky goo all over the house, they would stick to my pillow, get all over my clothes. And no matter how much I washed my hair, no matter what I washed it with, no matter whether I blew dried it, brushed it, combed it, raked it…those dang bits of SCOBY would NOT vacate the premises.
The lesson here – never use a SCOBY as a scalp or hair treatment.
#2 – Do Not Use A SCOBY As Ant Bait.
This was my own idea by the way.
Luckily, I am able to keep ants outside where they belong but we must have sign on our fence that says “ants welcome in this yard!” One day they were driving me nuts while I was trying to have a little lawn picnic with my daughter. They came out of nowhere – the big, biting kind. I relocated us to various parts of the yard but they found us within seconds. We could have just gave up and gone inside but I decided that I would make them a meal.
I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. Get an extra SCOBY, put it on a plate, and set it out to lure the ants away from us. Surely they would love it and flock to it.
We moved our picnic and left the SCOBY in its place. Keeping one eye on the ants and another eye on our picnic I was pleased to see that the ants were indeed curious about the SCOBY and engage enough to stay put and check it out. Phew…we could finally eat our lunch.
The ants got mad. No, not mad. Pissed. Really, really pissed. The ants would crawl up on the SCOBY, nibble it maybe (not real sure if they nibbled of were just standing on it), and then jump, and I mean jump off of it. And then they started running around like they were on fire. They were wildly mad. Running every which way and sort of rearing their heads up. This fiasco lasted about five minutes and then the ants stormed our way. They attacked the food we had on the blanket still. They were like dogs with a meaty bone. It was really crazy. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Guess they aren’t fans of probiotics? In any case, I would say that the SCOBY ant bait was a very failed use of an extra SCOBY. I’m just glad they didn’t try to eat me.
If you are curious about some better, natural ways to prevent ants, check out 9 Natural Ways To Prevent and Deter Ants.
#3 – Do Not Attempt To Use SCOBYS As Ice Skates
Yes. You read that right. This was another brilliant idea of my own. Mostly a “hey, we are bored and there is ice on the sidewalk. Let do something dumb.” And what four year old is going to say no to doing something ridiculously stupid with her mother? Mine sure didn’t.
I had just finished peeling off extra SCOBY babies from my brew and had a few older ones that I needed to move out of the SCOBY hotel. They were pretty thick so there was a lot of potential there. I asked my daughter what we should do with them and she just shrugged? “Feed them to the plants?” I asked. “Paint with them?” She just shook her head. Hmmm…
It was one of the only days this past winter where we had actual ice on the sidewalks and I had an ‘aha’ moment. Why not slide around on the SCOBYs? They are pretty slippery anyway and should make great ice skates. So out we went, SCOBYs in hand.
My daughter wanted me to go first so I put the SCOBYs on the sidewalk, gingerly stepped on, made the motion of skating forward, and….nothing. Absolutely nothing. Dang SCOBY stuck to the ice like glue.
SCOBY fail. And so I sat in the freezing cold, prying SCOBY off the sidewalk.
#4 – Do Not Feed Indoor Plants With Extra SCOBY Babies
I have successfully fed my outdoor plants with ground-up SCOBY babies mixed in with some water. They seem to love the probiotics and usually look extra happy and perky for a few days. I have been doing this for years and thought, hey, let’s feed the indoor plants some SCOBY goodness.
I think I forgot the reason why I hadn’t done so before. Trust me, there is a VERY good reason.
For those of you who brew your own Kombucha, you probably are aware that fruit flies LOVE the stuff. Thankfully, I have never ever had an issue with fruit flies but in the back of my mind I am pretty sure I told myself – “Jennifer, don’t grind up and put a SCOBY into the soil of the houseplants. You will be sorry!”
And sorry I was. One morning I blended up some SCOBY friends with water and poured my probiotic elixir onto all of my houseplants. 24 hours later my five-year-old was screaming about “teeny littttttttle bugs mommy…EVERYWHERE MOMMY!!!!!”
Craptastic. I had just opened some portal to the teeny tiny bug world with my SCOBY water. The soil in each and every houseplant was infested with these smaller-than-a-gnat sized bugs. They were in a feeding frenzy too. I marveled at it for about 5 seconds and then went into overdrive trying to rid our plants of all these buggies.
Luckily, they stayed put in the plants as I scurried about pouring Gnatrol all over the soil. I ALWAYS keep some of this handy as it kills fungus based gnat larvae. Anyway, it took a couple of applications and about a week to get rid of all those critters but they finally vanished.
Yeah, so now I remember why I never fed my indoor plants a SCOBY. I suggest you feed your plants other things, like Epson salts and coffee grounds instead.
And there you have it! The 4 things that you should never, ever do with your extra SCOBY!
Curious about Kombucha making? Check out Kombucha Kamp. Hannah is truly the master of the booch.
Have you had some SCOBY mishaps when you tried to re-purpose them? What about successes? What are you favorite ways to re-purpose extra SCOBY babies?