Although the methods have changed a bit, Tepache is a fermented beverage that originated with the Aztecs.
I have to say it’s the best tasting and easiest to make probiotic drink I’ve had so far.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- A fresh, whole pineapple – preferably organic
- 1 cup of brown sugar, or white sugar and molasses (Traditionally, tepache is made with piloncillo, the Mexican form of brown sugar, which comes in a cone shape. It’s available in Mexican markets. )
- Filtered water
- A half-gallon jar
(By the way, this is a modified version of the recipe found at this site — I’ve omitted the use of cinnamon and cloves, as that’s how my son’s dad grew up drinking it with his family in Mexico.)
Here’s what you do:
- Do not wash the pineapple. If you need to give it a quick rinse to remove surface dirt that’s fine, But the yeast that lives on the rind is what you’ll be using to make the tepache.
- Cut the rind away from the pineapple and reserve. Some people will actually use the bottom of the pineapple and the core but I only used the rind from the side and discarded the bottom in my compost bin. (You can actually save the top to replant.) Since you won’t be using the flesh of the pineapple for this drink feel free to go ahead and eat that.
- Add 1 cup of brown sugar, or white sugar with molasses to the jar. (Use about 1 to 2 Tbsp of molasses per cup of sugar, depending on whether you prefer light or dark brown sugar.)
- Place the rinds in the jar, then fill the rest of the jar within 1 inch of the top with filtered water.
- Cover with handkerchief, tea towel or something similar and secure with a rubber band or the ring from the jar lid.
- Leave on counter or top of your refrigerator for a couple of days and then start check the tepache to see if it’s bubbling. You should start seeing bubbles at the top of the liquid.
- When you see bubbles, you can begin tasting it.
- Once it’s bubbly you can strain it any time, but you can also wait another day or two – or three until the flavor is to your liking. It will go from a flat, syrupy sweet liquid, to something more like a punch, to a slightly fizzy soda type beverage, and then it start turning alcoholic (the amount of sugar means it could produce, at a maximum, about 5% alcohol) until it eventually turns into a vinegar.
- AFTER you strain it, do not discard the pineapple rind. You can make a second batch with the same rind by adding another cup of brown sugar and refilling with filtered water and repeating the process. Sometimes, you can even get a third batch, but it won’t have as much flavor as the first two. In fact, I think you’ll find the second batch is the best of all!
You’ll probably drink it up quickly if you have a large family, but if you end up with any left over, refrigerate to stop the fermentation process and keep it at the flavor level you enjoy.
I love my tepache once it’s developed its natural carbonation like a healthy pineapple soda. Keep your strained batch either in a tightly closed mason jar, or in sealed bottles in your refrigerator to help them keep the fiz. (The carbonation is a natural byproduct of the fermentation of the drink.)
You can try this with other fruits as well. Feel free to experiment!