Pineapple tepache is a naturally fermented drink from Mexico. This easy-to-make recipe produces a delicious refreshing home brew.
Where did pineapple tepache originate?
Tepache was originally made with corn. Its name comes from the Nahuatl "Tepatti", which means "Maize Drink". The original recipe can still be found in some small rural communities in Mexico. Today, Tepache drinks are generally made with pineapple peels, water, piloncillo sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. If you do not have piloncillo you can use brown sugar, coconut sugar, or regular white sugar.
Discovering pineapple tepache
I went through a very interesting stage in my career about eight years ago making all kinds of fermented beverages. First was kombucha tea, which I was introduced to while on a culinary tour of Northern Thailand in 2015.
I went on to teach Raw Food & Fermentation all over the UK; mainly as a guest chef lecturer at Leith's School of Food and Wine, London.
While developing course curriculums, I discovered lots of new recipes from around the world.
I moved to Phuket, Thailand in 2018 and for the first time saw pineapples growing! Pineapples grow in abundance here in Southern Thailand. I have been making my own tepache home brews here with pineapples from my neighbor's plantations.
You can't get more local than that!
Health benefits of pineapple tepache
Tepache helps in restoring intestinal flora when consumed before meals due to its high probiotic content. It has vitamin "C", contains antioxidants, and is at the same time a diuretic.
Ingredients you will need
All you need to make tepache is:
- Brown sugar
- Optional flavors - cinnamon, clove, star anise, ginger
I like to add ginger, turmeric, tamarind, lemon grass, and even a slice of chili to cut through the sweet and sour flavor.
How to make tepache
You can make your own tepache at home within four days.
Here is how to make it:
- Boil 500ml of the water and pour it into a glass jar with the brown sugar and any other flavors you are using. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour in the remaining 1 liter of cold water.
- Allow this to cool.
- Next, prepare the pineapple. Wash and cut the peel and core into medium-sized pieces.
- Now, simply add the pineapple skin and core into the cooled sweet liquid.
- Stir to combine all ingredients.
- Cover with a muslin or towel and secure with an elastic band to keep any foreign objects out.
- Leave for about 48 hours at room temperature.
- Strain the liquid and transfer it to airtight glass bottles.
- Leave these bottles at room temperature for 2 days to build up the natural carbonation.
- Refrigerate until chilled and then serve over ice.
Chef's Top Tip
Don’t throw away the pineapple rind after making the tepache. You can make another batch of tepache with the same peelings. The second batch is often even more tasty than the first!
What are the health benefits of fermented foods?
Fermented foods aid in digestion and support the immune system.
When our digestion is functioning properly, we are absorbing and assimilating all the nutrients we need, our immune system tends to be happy and better equipped to wage war against disease and illness.
Anything we can do to naturally boost our immune system is a wise investment in our health and wellbeing.
More prebiotic recipes
- Weighing scales
- Chopping board
- Chefs knife
- Saucepan - medium size
- Mixing bowl
- Glass bottles
- 500 g Pineapple organic
- 100 g Brown sugar
- 1500 ml Water - filtered
- Assemble the ingredients.
- Heat 500ml of the water in a large pot until it starts to boil.
- Take the saucepan off the heat, and add the brown sugar to dissolve and cool while we are working with the pineapple.
- Cut the crown off of the pineapple. Wash the outside of the pineapple with water, making sure to get rid of any dirt particles or potential bugs.
- Peel the pineapple. Do this on a chopping board set into the sink to reduce mess. Cut a slice off the top of the fruit, another slice off the bottom, and then slice the peel off in strips.
- Cut the fruit of the pineapple into slices or chunks, reserving for another use.
- Cut up the core and add the the peelings to make Tepache.
- Once the sugar has dissolved into the hot water and allowed to cool, place the pieces of pineapple peel and core into the saucepan along with the 1000ml of remaining water. Stir well.
- Cover the pot with a muslin cloth or dishtowel, and set it on the kitchen counter or another place (at room temperature) where it is easily accessible but out of the way. The towel will keep out any foreign matter while allowing air to reach the mixture, allowing for successful fermentation.
- After 24 to 36 hours, check your tepache. If you see a bit of frothy white foam on the surface of the water, it’s fermenting. The time necessary for fermentation will vary according to the temperature, ripeness of the pineapple, and other factors.
- Once your tepache has reached the desired level of fermentation, strain out, and discard all the solids.
- Transfer the liquid to air-tight glass bottles and leave at room temperature for 2 days to build up the carbonation.
- Transfer Tepache to the refrigerator to chill.
- Before serving, take a test drink. Add more water or honey to taste.
- Best served over ice with a wedge of lime.
- Add some fresh-squeezed lime juice to the final product to give it an extra-refreshing kick and balance the sweetness.
- Try adding a few cloves, cinnamon or star anise to the mixture in the pot for an additional bit of spice.
- When serving, add fresh chopped fruit (pineapple, oranges, limes, apples, etc.) to a pitcher of tepache —similar to what is done with sangria—for added fun! Serve with a straw and a spoon.