It’s a cooling and soothing herb that helps ease digestion and tummy troubles, and a perfect choice for summer because of the cooling effect it has on the body.
The addition of mint is pretty and adds a freshness and crispness to the tepache.
- 2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) filtered water or springwater
- 220 g (73/4 oz/1 cup) raw sugar or 185 g (61/2 oz/1 cup) light brown sugar
- 1 pineapple
- 2 mint sprigs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Fermentation time: 2-10 days
Bring 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) of the filtered water to the boil. Add the sugar to a heatproof 2 litre (70 fl oz/8 cup) wide-mouth glass jar. Pour in the boiling water and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add enough of the remaining filtered water to three-quarters fill the jar and set aside to cool.
Wash the outside of the pineapple. Using a sharp knife, cut off the pineapple skin, leaving a little flesh attached.
Add the pineapple skins to the sugar-water solution and stir vigorously. Top up with filtered water to fill the jar, if necessary, then stir again. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.
Place the jar out of direct sunlight in a warm spot and leave to ferment for 1–7 days, depending on the temperature. If it’s very hot, check after 12 hours as that may be sufficient time for fermentation to take effect. Give the tepache a vigorous stir each day and check the taste. If the pineapple skins have popped out of the liquid, push them back down to reduce the chance of the tepache becoming mouldy.
Remove and discard the pineapple skins and skim off any foam and scum from the top of the tepache.
Put a funnel in the opening of a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid and put a strainer on top of the funnel. Pour half the tepache into the bottle through the strainer. Repeat with a second 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) bottle and the remaining tepache.
Add a mint sprig to each bottle and tightly seal the lids. Leave the bottles on the bench to build carbonation. This could take 1–3 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the tepache daily to release some pressure by opening the lids slightly and then tightening them again. Depending on the residual sugars and the fermentation activity, pressure can build significantly. In order to prevent an explosion, test the fizz every couple of days.
When the tepache is as fizzy as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold. Try serving tepache over ice cubes made from coconut water for a tropical treat.
Recipe from Probiotic Drinks at Home by Felicity Evans (Murdoch Books, sb, $27.99), which also includes recipes for other tepache variations, including chilli pineapple tepache. Photography by Rob Palmer.