Updated: Oct 8, 2018
Since visiting Costa Rica two years ago we have averaged eating at least one pineapple per week, sale or no sale. We just love it! But it’s always seemed such a shame that there is so much waste with the thick peel and the core being inedible – though I love to nibble on the core!
At the NYC Ferm Fest I went to a demonstration of how tepache is created. I had read about it before and been hesitant. Now that I know of the usefulness of that peel and core, I have trouble throwing it in the compost. The hubster checks in with me to ask whether I plan to compost it, as we used to, or if I plan to make something of it. With just two of us at home, we can’t get through the gallon I make with one pineapple husk so I often do need to just compost the “refuse,” but when I make tepache I can’t stop drinking it.
Tepache is a wild ferment -- there is no starter. In a recent study of the properties of tepache it was discovered that this naturally fermented drink has antimicrobial properties and could be used for food preservation (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4576967/). Like other ferments, it seems our ancestors knew a thing or two about keeping healthy even if they didn’t have the specific science. The data was in the living.
My Tepache Recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Kombucha, Kefir, And Beyond by Alex Lewin and Raquel Guajardo. I personally prefer less sugar and less clove and have appreciated the addition of ginger.
· 1 pineapple using only the skin and core. Enjoy the rest of the pineapple as you would normally.
· 1 gallon, untreated water
· ¾ cups sugar (I have experimented with mixtures of coconut palm sugar, brown sugar, sucanat)
· 1 stick cinnamon (optional)
· 2 cloves (optional)
· ½” fresh ginger, chopped (optional)
Wash your pineapple thoroughly. Cut off top and bottom and discard. If using half gallon vessels, divide all ingredients as equally as possible between the two. Place pineapple skin and core into your fermentation vessels. Dissolve sugar in water and pour over your pineapple skin to cover. Use a weight if necessary to keep solids submerged. Add flavorings (cinnamon, cloves, ginger) if desired. Cover the top of your vessel with a hand towel, paper towel, coffee filter or some such that allows the ferment to “breathe.” In approximately 3 days you should see small bubbles forming around the edges. Taste. If your tepache is to your liking, strain and bottle into flip top bottles or other anaerobic containers. You may continue the first ferment for up to five days. After straining, allow to ferment another day or so at room temperature, then refrigerate. If your Tepache should be unrefrigerated for too long it will become vinegary, in which case you will have a delightful pineapple vinegar that can be used for cooking and in salad dressings.
You can’t lose with Tepache!