Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tepache (Fermented Pineapple Drink)

Pineapple Tepache: 2 quarts, 2-6 days

In Mexico earlier this month, Momma and I enjoyed two blissful days at a beach club on the Sea of Cortez. We had to pre-pay about $27 per person, but this money went toward the same amount of food and drinks, and we ate and drank very well within that. The first day, I discovered something new to me on the cocktail specialty menu: a drink of rum, coconut cream, and something called tepache I had to ask about.

Well, as it turns out, it's a drink made from pineapple (or just the peels) and piloncillo, an unrefined form of sugar. The peels of the pineapple hold the yeast that causes the fermentation, so there's no need to add a "mother" of any kind, although some add beer after a few days to speed it up. There are many variations of the recipe, of course, and I'll keep experimenting to find my happy number of days of fermentation. Start out as I did with about four days and you should have a lovely, refreshing mini-trip to the tropics in your fridge for way less money than a plane ticket. BTW: the local 99 Cents Only had ripe pineapple and piloncillo in stock, so this was super cheap to make! 

-1 small ripe pineapple
-1 8 oz piloncillo or 1 cup dark brown sugar if you can't find it
-1 cinnamon stick
-3-5 whole cloves
-2 qts water

1) Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Scrub the outside with warm water (no soap!)
2) Cut up the pineapple and put in a large jar (3 or more quarts), peels, core and all. You can even just use the peels and core if you want to use the fruit for something else.
3) Heat the water to dissolve the piloncillo or brown sugar. Add the cinnamon and cloves, then cool to room temp or thereabouts. Once cool, pour over the pineapple.
4) Cover the jar with several layers of cheesecloth or a tea towel, held on with a rubber band.
5) Let sit in a warm,, dry place for 2-5 days, testing every day to see if it's where you'd like it to be.
6) When a white foam appears on top, skim that off. You can keep letting it ferment for another couple of days after that if you like sour drinks or more fizziness.
7) Strain out the pineapple (you can eat the parts with no skin) and filter the Tepache into a large jar or pitcher. It might need to be filtered twice if there are little white things floating in it, but you can use the cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve to get out most of the cloves and pineapple skin debris.
8) Serve over ice or mixed into a cocktail. Enjoy your mini tropical break!

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