Tepache

Completed Logbook
Pineapple cuttings in a jar of dark liquid.

Kirsten Shockey (@fermentworks) put a video out earlier this week about the Mexican fermented beverage tepache. In a stroke of good timing, I happened to have just bought a pineapple!

I had the good fortune to meet Kirsten when she was a “guest lecturer” at Larder for a special Koji class. I can definitely recommend the book I bought and had signed that day, Miso, Tempeh, Natto & Other Tasty Ferments, wherein she describes a sous vide method for incubating Koji that I currently use.

I did this during my Thursday dinner livestream with friends and family, so I do not have exact measurements. Something tells me that weighing everything out in grams would go against the spirit of the drink, though.

Also, all of my 2L Mason jars are occupied, so I used a 1L jar. I’m hoping this at least concentrates the pineapple flavor.

  • waste cuttings from one pineapple, skin & core
  • about 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • about 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves

Trim the pineapple and chop skin into manageable chunks. Mix brown sugar into water (non-chlorinated!) until fully dissolved. Pack pineapple core and skin and cloves into jar and add sugar water until full with some headspace. Cap with lid (must be burped) or airlock and leave on the counter for 3 days.

Kirsten’s instructions call for basically double the sugar and 3x the water, and I opted not to include cinnamon. Maybe I’ll get one bottle out of this, but it’s a test run.

I’ll keep an eye on it for the next 3 days and let you know how it tastes!

Day 2

Since I put this together in the evening, my day markers seem off, however it’s about 42 hours later, so the tail end of day 2. Not a whole lot of pressure building up yet, but I can see the activity. Check out the bubbles:

Day 3

Strained, tasted, and bottled! It’s pleasant but not particularly interesting. I’m going to let it effervesce a little in the fridge before passing final judgement, but it’s certainly drinkable. Not as tangy as I was looking for, but a few more days in the fridge might help with that.

Day 18

I let the bottle sit in my fridge a little longer than I should have. I don’t think that will be a problem since I’ve now tasted the final result, and I don’t think I’ll be able to resist the temptation next time. And there will be a next time, because we bought another pineapple today!

I will be playing around with the length of the initial fermentation and also fridge “bottle conditioning” next time. I don’t think I’ll be able to completely optimize this since it’s meant to be a live drink, and I don’t want to completely ferment out the sugar, but it couldn’t hurt to push the tartness a little and have a bottle that hopefully doesn’t explode quite as energetically.