Tepache, aka rotten pineapple bubbly
(Adapted from Zero Waste California)
I have this theory that people start off gardening with flashy annuals, and then eventually work through all that drama and end up mature with hostas and ferns. In the kitchen, the flash might start in the pan, but it usually ends up in the joy of rot: Fermentation.
Kimchi, kombucha, fermented veg, kvass—that’s the rotten destination on this journey.
Tepache is new to me, fizzy, refreshing, healing, and easy.
1 large jar (like ~64 oz large)
The skin of one ripe, organic pineapple
3/4 c sugar/sweetener (cane or coconut sugar, maple syrup…)
6 c water
Spices or herbs to taste (I’ve used cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and allspice with coconut sugar; I would like to try fresh mint and coriander with cane sugar)
Select a ripe organic pineapple: it should smell nice and pineappley.
Give the skin a good cleaning, with a scrub brush and water.
Cut off the top and bottom of the fruit, about ½” thick, and compost.
Skin and core the pineapple, and store/eat/freeze the ripe fruit.
Put the water in the jar, add the sweetener, and stir until it’s dissolved.
Add the pineapple skin and core, add the spices/herbs if using, and give it another stir.
If you have a fermentation weight, you’re a better person than I. If you don’t, find something that will keep the skins and cores under the water level. (I use a ramekin.)
Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth thick enough that fruit flies can’t get in. (Ew.) Four layers should be fine. Secure it with an elastic, and wait. The wayayayaiting is the hardest part.
Depending on the temperature and nice bacteria in your home, the fermentation should be complete within 12 to 48 hours. You’re looking for bubbles.
When it has just the right fizz, strain out the pineapple and any herbs/spices, and bottle the tepache in old kombucha bottles, mason jars, or pop-top bottles. If you want a little more carbonation, you can ferment it for another day or two. In fact, some people call it ‘pineapple beer,’ and let it go until alcohol develops.
It’s best kept in the fridge after the desired level of fermentation is reached. Urp.