1cuplight brown sugar200 g, or 1 large cone piloncillo
Optional: 2 thumbs sliced fresh ginger, ½ red chili, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves
Cut: Remove the crown and base of the pineapple, then rinse the body of the pineapple with cool tap water to remove potential pests or dirt. Cut the peel from the pineapple in big chunks, leaving about ½ inch of the pineapple flesh on the peel.
Assemble: Add sugar (or piloncillo) and 1 cup of the water to a clean, large glass or ceramic jar, stirring well to dissolve sugar. Add optional flavors and cover with pineapple rinds, then add remaining water. Submerge all ingredients in the liquid to prevent mold by weighing it down using either a glass, ladle spoon, or fermentation weight.
Ferment: Cover with a clean dish towel or a few layers of paper towels, then secure with a rubber band. Set somewhere dark and room temperature (ideally 75-80°F, 24-26°C), letting it ferment for 1 to 3 days.
Drink or Bottle: The tepache is finished when you see many small bubbles on top and it tastes how you want it to (test by drawing some out with a paper straw, using your finger to keep the tepache in the straw). Either refrigerate and drink the tepache as is, or carbonate it in the second fermentation.
Second Fermentation (Optional): Funnel the liquid into fermentation-grade bottles, leaving about 2 inches free at the top of each bottle. Set somewhere room temperature and dark, then allow it to ferment for another 1 to 3 days. After 24 hours, pop open a bottle to see how carbonated it has become and to gauge how much longer they will need. When the tepache has reached a carbonation level that you like, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.
Reuse the pineapple peels for another 1 or 2 rounds after your initial fermentation. There is still plenty of yeast on them!
Blast zone: Carbonating tepache in the second fermentation does involve pressure build up inside the bottles, which is why I recommend bottles specifically made for fermentation. As with any second fermentation, there is a risk of bottles exploding, so check on your bottles regularly and move them to the refrigerator when done.
Store finished tepache in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a year. As with most fermentations, tepache will last virtually forever due to the acidity. Over time the flavors will continue to develop towards yeasty, but a properly made tepache will last for a long, long time!