What is Tepache? In Mexican culture and gastronomy it is a traditional and well loved slightly fermented pineapple drink. Popular since the old days, it was, and still is, very common in most of Mexico, especially in areas that are very hot.
Historically, Mexican people (myself certainly included), are very thrifty and frugal in the kitchen. No ingredient ever goes to waste. In the case of this Tepache, peeling a pineapple to enjoy the fruit bears double results. That is something amazing and powerful when you have to feed a large family.
The fun thing about Tepache is that you use the peel and core of the fruit. You place it in a non-reactive recipient and cover with water. You can simply use pineapple and piloncillo, but people like to spice things up by adding canela and even vanilla beans to the mix.
The concoction sits on the counter, at room temperature, and then the magic begins. Fermentation starts and the longer it sits, the stronger (and more alcoholic) the brew becomes.
In Mexico, the hot weather aids the speed of fermentation, so the drink can be ready in a couple of days, but in more northern climes, where it's not so hot, it could take a bit longer.
I like my Tepache only slightly fermented, so it usually sits for only two to three days. And I only make it in the summer months, because the warm weather helps. It reminds me of Kombucha, which I enjoy very much.
Now... a pitcher of Tepache continues to ferment as it sits in the fridge. Don't be surprised if it is stronger the next day. I like to consume it fairly quickly. Make some Tepache the next time you host a barbecue. Serve cold, with lots of ice and garnished with a pineapple wedge. I guarantee it will disappear fast!
Fermented Pineapple Cooler
Peel and cores of 2 very well washed pineapples, cut into 2" chunks
3 litres water
½-1 cup piloncillo, chopped (or dark brown sugar), or more to taste
2 x 2" sticks canela
In large plastic or glass container, place water and piloncillo or brown sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the pineapple peels and cores, as well as the canela sticks.
Cover with cheesecloth and let sit, on the counter, for 2-5 days. The longer it sits, the stronger it will be. Make sure the cheesecloth is secure over the top of the container, so no fruit flies (if there are any) can get in. Mixture will start foaming as it ferments, and that is OK.
You can start tasting it after two days and if it tastes good to you, then it’s ready. Remove all peels and cores and strain into a large pitcher. Add more piloncillo if you want it sweeter.
Serve over ice, garnished with pineapple chunks.