Can You Freeze Kombucha?
Kombucha is a type of sweet tea infused with bacteria and yeast culture. This beverage is considered as a health drink that promotes better digestive health.
Kombucha used to be rare in the US but these days, the drink can be found at local supermarkets. Some people are even brewing their own kombucha! This sweet drink is best stored at room temperature to keep the culture alive. But what about freezing this drink? But can you freeze kombucha?
Some believe that kombucha shouldn’t be frozen because the probiotic culture might die during freezing. This is a myth; kombucha can be frozen for future uses! Now here’s the thing, it’s important to freeze the drink properly through “fast-freezing” so the bacteria and yeast culture won’t die during freezing.
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The fact is, freezing kombucha won’t kill the bacteria and yeast culture, the cold temps will only cause them to stay dormant. Still, there are many things to consider before freezing the drink.
For one thing, the cell membranes of yeast and beneficial bacteria could rupture as they expand from being kept in the freezer for too long. In addition, the ice crystals that form during freezing could be harmful to the bacteria. As such, we don’t recommend freezing kombucha for weeks at a time. You need to consume kombucha as soon as possible if you want to enjoy its health benefits.
What about chilling the drink, is it safe to keep kombucha in the fridge? Yes, you can store kombucha in the fridge. When stored in the fridge, kombucha will keep for up to 3 months. But to reiterate, we don’t recommend keeping this drink stored for too long if you want to enjoy its health benefits.
Kombucha has a long shelf life and it will never spoil. Why? The bacteria in the drink kill any contaminant they meet. When kept at room temperature, kombucha will continue to ferment, getting sour as the day goes by. Fermentation stops when the drink is chilled in the fridge. The only time you should throw kombucha is if mold starts forming. This happens when the drink has been left sitting for too long.
If you’d like to store your favorite health drink in the freezer, here is a step by step guide on how can you freeze kombucha:
Before you go ahead with the freezing, it’s important to note that this process won’t guarantee the survival of the probiotics post-freezing.
Slow freezing is the enemy when storing kombucha in the freezer. If you brewed your own kombucha, it’s important to pack the drink properly. That includes avoiding using any metal to store the drink.
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The probiotic culture will react with the drink so always use plastic utensils as well as plastic funnels to prep kombucha. You can use a rigid plastic container or heavy-duty releasable plastic bags to freeze the drink. Just pour the kombucha into the container and leave for a couple of inches of space before sealing it. Never shake the kombucha.
Fill a large bowl with ice and place the packed drink it in to chill then add water as well as a ¼ cup of salt. The salt will cause the water and ice to turn extremely cold, chilling the drink almost instantly. Once the drink is nice and chilled, stick in the freezer and keep the temperature at constant 0°Fahrenheit.
The same process can be done to flash freeze store-bought kombucha although there’s no need to transfer the drink to another container.
To defrost frozen kombucha, transfer the drink from the freezer to the fridge. Consume the drink immediately as soon as it’s been thawed. Just to make sure most of the probiotics survived the freezing temps, consume the rest of your kombucha stock within a few days or weeks of freezing. Never leave defrosted kombucha sitting in the pantry or re-freeze leftovers.
Freezing kombucha is a tricky process that requires careful preparation and considerable knowledge about proper handling kombucha microorganisms. While there is no guarantee that flash freezing will ensure the survival of the probiotics once the drink has been defrosted, it’s worth a try if you need to store gallons of the drink in the freezer. Our advice is to freeze the drink in small batches to avoid waste.