Tepatche: Refreshment from food scraps

With gas prices rising and the feeling that everything is becoming more expensive, more people are looking to maximizing their resources. One of these is to utilize every part of of the products you purchase from the grocery store. Starting with COVID closures our family began to get a home delivery box of fruits and vegetables. In Japan we found a similar service where without fail we get a pineapple each week. We enjoy pineapple but there was always a good deal of waste just to get to the edible part. We normally put this into our family compost pile (compost camp). I was interested to see if there were other uses I could get from the rinds before I composted them. From this desire I found out about tepatche. Now instead of having fruit with a ton of scraps for compost I can now get fruit, a beverage, a new plant and still compost the rind afterwards.

  • Recipe:
    • 1 Pineapple
    • 1 to 1.5 Cups of Sugar (sweetness to taste)
    • Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise) to taste
    • 9 Cups of Filtered Water
    • Wide mouth jar large enough to hold it all.

Separate the rind from the fruit: There are dozens of recipies out there here is mine. I first twist off the crown of the fruit and set it aside for later. Then I chop off the top of the fruit and cut down around the pineapple to remove the rind. For this pineapple I discarded the base of the pineapple due to some fuzzy mold growing on the fruit when we received it. This is normal and I regularly throw this part away. If the bottom of your fruit doesn’t look moldy you can add this part as well to the bottle. I then cut the core of the pineapple out from the fruit. I dice the fruit and put it into a bowl to use latter.

Fill the jar: With the rind removed and fruit put away for later use it is time to focus on making the tepache. I put one (1) to one and a half (1.5) cups of sugar in a wide mouth one gallon jar. More sugar will make a sweeter final product. I then put most of the pineapple rinds and core in the jar. I then add eight cups of water into the jar. Once these are put into the bowl I take the final two rinds making sure that they wedge them in the jar to keep all solids under the water level. The last cup of water is put in the jar and make sure the pineapple parts are completely submerged, similar to making sauerkraut. Anything that emerges above the water line could lead to mold forming on your concoction. At this time you can add spices to flavor further. I have regularly added cinnamon sticks. And have also tried clove (one goes a long way), star anise, and nutmeg. These are all to the preference of the consumer.

The waiting game: The beverage can be bottled at either two days or a week after it was started. The difference would be the earlier it is bottled the less the sugars will be consumed and the more sweet / less sour taste to your drink. Later bottling will produce a higher alcohol content, but not anything greater than 2%.

Bottling: When bottling the first step should be to remove the large rind parts from the jar before filling the bottles. Once these parts are removed they can go to compost camp with the bottom of the fruit that was put in the compost when this batch was started. I put a strainer on the top of the funnel to make sure that I keep the smaller particulates. Leaving these bottles on the counter with a tight lid on will greatly increase the likely hood of making bottle bombs. Once bottled I put these in the refrigerator immediately. For us it is next to the tea kombucha and coffee kombucha.

Growing the next pineapple: Taking the crown that was twisted off in the first step start pealing off the bottom leaves. I normally pull more leaves off than most people would think necessary. Once the lower leaves are pulled off cut off the small amount of fruit that is still clinging to the bottom of the crown. I let this dry overnight then put in a jar where the water is just barely touching the bottom of the crown. The pineapple leaves that were removed can make their way to compost camp.

In the end, what was normally just a fruit and plenty of food scraps of rinds and crown you can turn into an additional drink and future pineapple plant. I know I am not going to save the world by making tepache and really I am not going to save our family’s budget but it does get more use out of the products we get from the store.

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