Fresh hits from the Yeastie Boys
Set aside your gin and put away the seafood, today we’re doing something a little bit different…
Originally, I wanted to call this article “Life’s a buch” and teach you all to make kombucha. Now, I don’t hate kombucha but I certainly feel there are more interesting ferments that you can try at home (that also look a little bit more appealing…).
Today we’re going to explore Tepache! Tepache is a fermented and spiced pineapple drink that originates from central Mexico. It’s dead simple to make, so tasty and you get all those probiotic benefits, just like kombucha, but without the funky smells and a scoby that looks like it hails from an alien planet!
Let’s make Tepache
• a largish fermenting jar – approx. 4L
• 4 spring-capped glass bottles
• muddling stick or rolling pin
• cheesecloth, or fine sieve and funnel
• 1 whole organic pineapple
• 1 cup of brown or Rapadura sugar (traditionally, tepache uses piloncillo, but good luck finding that!)
• 4cm fresh organic ginger knob
• 2 cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• Optional: add a hot chilli in there if you like it spicy!
1. Chop the top off your pineapple and pop it in an empty pot with some soil. This isn’t crucial to the recipe but you won’t be complaining when you’ve got a pineapple growing in 18 months’ time!
2. Then, cut the bottom off and discard. Now, chop your pineapple barrel into quarters then into triangles – skin and all! The skin is really important as it has a lot of natural yeasts on it, which you want for your fermentation. Make sure you buy organic so you’re not ending up with fungicides and pesticides in your drink, which will also halt fermentation. Pop the pineapple into your fermentation jar and give it a good muddle with a muddling stick or rolling pin to bruise it up and release some of those juices.
3. Next, crush your ginger with the muddling stick and pop it in too – skin on! In goes the cinnamon and cloves, then last but not least, your sugar. You can pre-dissolve your sugar in a bit of water before putting it in, but it’s not necessary. Once all of your ingredients are in your jar, fill it up with tap water until there’s a good 2cm gap from the lid – now we give it a good ol’ mix up then pop it on your kitchen bench for three days.
Over the next few days, all of those little yeastie boys are going to start sucking up the sugars from the pineapple and what we’ve added.
4. You should ‘burp’ your jar every day to help prevent the jar from building up too much pressure from all that fermentation action goin’ on. At the three-day mark, you’ll be seeing plenty of bubbles rising from the sides of the jar and around the pineapple. This is what we want to see.
5. Now, get your clean glass bottles and transfer only the liquid from your ferment jar to your bottles using a cheesecloth or a fine sieve and funnel. (Try saving the fruit and doing another fermentation again!)
6. Pop the lids on your bottles and leave them on the bench for another two days. This is what we call a secondary ferment and this part allows the co2 produced by the yeast, to dissolve into the liquid, giving us the fizz! After the two days, you can drink!
I refrigerate mine and serve it on ice with a bit of fresh pineapple – just be careful when popping the top of your bottles though as they can often be very pressurised! Treat them as you would a beer or sparkling wine.
Columnist Harry Foster is a former Masterchef Australia contestant and NQ lad who each edition gives us a taste of his energetic approach to food.
Follow Harry’s foodie adventures on Instagram @hazfos