Have you heard of Tepache? It’s a probiotic beverage that’s made from the “waste” parts of fresh pineapple: the rinds and core. And, if you have chickens and/or ducks like we do, it’s zero waste!
To make Tepache, simply rinse a medium-sized pineapple and cut it up as you normally would, reserving the fruit inside for other fabulous ferments like pineapple water kefir. Chop the rinds and core up into large pieces and place the pieces into a gallon jar. Add 3/4 cup brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, and a few whole cloves. I don’t usually have cinnamon sticks or whole cloves on hand – a generous shake of both spices in ground form also works, but will result in spice “sediment” in your finished beverage.
You may also substitute regular sugar for the brown sugar, but add about a half teaspoon of blackstrap molasses to it…or, if you have access to it, use piloncillo (most authentic), jaggery, Sucanat, or a similar unrefined cane sugar. Top the jar off with dechlorinated water (this is important – chlorine will kill the wild microbes needed to make the drink) and stir the ingredients up vigorously. Cover with a breathable cloth, like a paper towel cut to size, and secure with a rubber band.
Stir the mixture at least daily. Introducing oxygen will help facilitate the fermentation process, so you may do it twice a day if you’re so inclined. In about 3 days, you should see a thick layer of foam at the top, and this is the point at which I like to bottle it. It may take more or less time, depending on the temperature where you are – fermentation will occur more rapidly in warmer temperatures. Keep an eye on it and bottle when you see the big foamy head, or it may turn into pineapple vinegar. Strain the liquid into bottles and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to drink it. If you have chicken and ducks, feed them the fermented pineapple rind and core pieces – ours love it, and they’ll be getting some probiotics…win-win!
If you have multiple pineapples and want to save some to make Tepache later, you can bag up the rind and core and either refrigerate (if you know you’ll start another batch right after the first one finishes) or freeze them. If you freeze the rinds and cores, thaw them in the fridge before using and be prepared to wait an extra day or two for the fermentation to come up to speed. I recently made a batch from frozen rinds and cores, and it took about 4 days to complete.
I think you’ll find this drink unique and refreshing, and the process is so easy. Make it an adult beverage by adding a splash of white or spiced rum and pretend that you’re in the tropics somewhere!