One of the things that have changed about me during this food journey is my willingness to try more foods. While once I used to shy away from foods for any different kind of reasons, mostly the gross factor, now I am willing to be more open about them and give them a try. That’s how I ended up learning six different ways to cook liver and one way to do sauerkraut. And that’s why I’ve started to look onto mexican dishes that I used to pass a long time ago.
One of these is Tepache, a fermented beverage made with pineapple and sugar. It is pretty common to find street vendors selling them, and since the amount of alcohol is super low, it is given to children without any worries. It is not sweet, but rather tangy, like a pineapple flavored kombucha, though the process does not involve introducing a new culture – it rather lets the bacteria found in the skin of the pineapple do the process.
A good tepache begins with a good pineapple. It has to be mature, even a bit overripe, but not too much. You start by removing the crown (the top green portion) and the bottom and discarding both, and then you slice and dice the whole pineapple, skin and rinds included! You don’t throw anything away.
Now, tepache also needs some flavor, added in the form of a pair of cinnamon sticks and a couple of whole cloves. They bring a smokey, more intense flavor to the drink.
Now, depending on the recipe you are using, you are told to either just use the rinds and skin, or the whole pineapple. I prefer to use the whole thing just because I like my drinks a bit on the acidic side (the natural flavor of the pineapple dulls the sweetness of the added sugar, required for fermentation to occur) but I also used piloncillo, a solid form of unrefined cane sugar. Sally Fallon’s rapadura is the same thing.
I actually just dumped everything in the pitcher and filled it with liquid all the way to the top. And left it outside for three days, covered with a piece of cheese cloth and in a warm (but not hot) spot in my place. After those three days it looked like this: