I’ve been watching Fernando @fmedeats post pictures of “tepache” to his Instagram account, and asked for the recipe on the last one:
He replied to my plea with some basics:
Go commando. Here’s a rough guide: a whack of fresh grated ginger, the skin of one or two pineapples, sugar to taste (maybe a cup or two? To taste!), a few star anise, a few pods of cardamom, water (let sit overnight to de-chlorinate). All goes in a mega-Mason jar (Famous Foods sells them). Ferment for 2-3 days. Transfer to pop-top glass bottles for secondary fermentation. Burp every couple of hours. Put in fridge. DM me if you need more info! It’s really a loosey-goosey recipe
But first, what is tepache? Wikipedia tells us it’s a fermented pineapple beverage:
Tepache is a fermented beverage made from the peel and the rind of pineapples, and is sweetened either with piloncillo or brown sugar, seasoned with powdered cinnamon, and served cold. Though tepache is fermented for several days, the resulting drink does not contain much alcohol. In Mexican culinary practice, the alcoholic content of tepache may be increased with a small amount of beer.
In Mexico, tepache is usually sold as a chilled drink by street vendors. It is usually stored in barrels to make the fermentation process faster. It is served either in a clay mug or in a clear plastic bag with a straw inserted for easier travel. In the U.S., it is sold in juice bars or traditional Mexican restaurants in the Mexican American communities of the Southwestern United States. The fermentation process for making tepache is simple and quick, which makes tepache a drink readily produced at home.
OK, great! Even better, Fernando sent me some step by step pictures:
Chopped Pineapple Skins and Cores
Juicing the Lime
Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cardamom Pods
Put it all together in a big mason jar
Ferment for 2-3 Days
Transfer to pop-top glass bottles for secondary fermentation. Burp every couple of hours. Put in fridge.
Those bottles with the ceramic flip tops? Turns out Fernando and I get them from the same source – find a store near you that sells fancy lemonade or spritzer that comes in the bottles, wash them out, and re-use them for whatever you need. Ikea has ones with crappier lids on them, and honestly buying fancy drinks is probably the cheapest way to get your hands on them.