Ever since I first read of it in The People's Guide To Mexico, by Carl Franz and Lorena Havens, I've long been curious to try tepache, a fermented pineapple "beer", made from the rind and a little of the flesh of the fruit. Piñas are relatively cheap here, I'd bought one on two occasions, but lack of time prevented me from trying this traditional Mexican home brew.
Last week, on my second fresh piña, I had the time, the recipe and the inclination.
The recipe was from the cookbook, Mexico—The Beautiful Cookbook.
• Wash a medium to large pineapple in clean water, but without disinfecting it. Cut away the rinds, discard the crown (top) and leave a little flesh on the rinds.
• Chop very coarsely, and place in a non-corrodible container with a lid.
• Cover with 8 cups of pure water, a 3- inch piece of cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves and 20 oz of piloncillo or dark brown sugar. Stir gently, cover, and let set in a warm place for 48 hours.
(See photo above, right)
• At that time, strain the tepache back into the container, add 4 cups of pure water, and allow to set for 8 hours.
• You may now pour it over ice and enjoy. I found this batch to be a little sweet, and I preferred it with a squeeze of fresh lime.
I find that for me, it goes best with a Veracruz cigar, while sitting on the porch, admiring the view. It's also excellent with comida picante.