This simple tepache recipe uses pineapple skins that you might otherwise compost or throw in the trash. Best of all, it produces a delicious fermented probiotic beverage that tastes like pineapple kombucha.
We live at the base of the Appalachian Mountain in Ag Zone 7b. That means we get about four months of fairly cold weather and plenty of deep freezes.
Another tropical we’ve grown for the better part of a decade: pineapples.
Once you’ve had a pineapple that’s fully ripened to golden perfection on the plant, it’s hard to go back to the grocery store version. With a perfectly ripe pineapple, the flavor is far sweeter, more nuanced, and more intense than the store bought alternative.
10 Easy Steps: How to Grow Your Own Pineapples
Growing pineapples via “crown propagation” is pretty darn easy. Here’s how:
Step 1. Cut the top off of a mature pineapple fruit, leaving about 1/4 – 1/2″ of the top attached.
Step 2. Fill a 2-3 gallon pot to 1″ below the top with organic POTTING soil (FoxFarm is our favorite potting soil.) Do NOT use regular garden soil or compost or it will become compacted in the pot, making it difficult for the pineapple’s roots to grow.
Step 3. Make sure your potting soil is nice and moist — like a wrung-out sponge, not soup.
Step 4. Place your pineapple top firmly in the pot and press it down in the soil so the stump is slightly buried.
Step 5. Keep your pineapple pot in a warm, sunny spot — indoors or outdoors — and water as frequently as necessary to ensure that the soil stays moist but not sopping wet. Your aim is to stimulate root growth, not cause the pineapple base to rot.
Our pineapples live outdoors in the warm months (March – mid-October) and we bring them indoors when temps dip below 40 degrees.
Step 6. The pineapple top will begin putting down roots within a few weeks, after which it will start to put on growth.
Step 7. Keep the pineapple plant happy. That means: water regularly, keep in a warm and sunny location, and apply an organic slow-release fertilizer every few months.
As the plant gets larger, you’ll either want to pot it up to a 5 gallon pot or grow bag.
Step 8. *Helpful tip: On pineapple plants we have indoors or need to move frequently, we cut the sharp, spiny tips off of the leaves so they don’t spear us!
Step 9. After 18-24 months, your large, beautiful pineapple plant will be mature enough to fruit. If you don’t see a small flower beginning to form in the center of the plant, you can induce pineapple fruit production by placing an apple near the plant.
The ethylene gas released by the apple triggers the pineapple to produce a fruit.
Step 10. Once you’ve harvested the fruit, you can use the top of the fruit to start a new pineapple plant.
Keep the old “mother plant” going as well. She’ll live for many years, continuing to produce new fruit, plus suckers and slips you can also use to start new pineapple plants.
In addition to better flavor, another benefit of growing your own pineapples is you don’t have to use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. That means: 1) better flavor, and 2) you don’t have to worry about pesticide contamination on your fruit or the pineapple skins you’ll be using to make tepache.
Finding a Fermented Tepache Recipe
A few years ago, when eating our homegrown pineapples, we wondered if there was something we could do with the pineapple skins other than using them in compost. A quick google search helped us find a great answer: tepache.
Tepache is a fermented pineapple beverage originating in Mexico. It’s impossible to know exactly when it first originated, but tepache pre-dates European contact.
What Does Tepache Taste Like?
There are dozens of different tepache recipes, varying in ingredients and ratios of ingredients. We’ve tried quite a few tepache recipes and found all of them to be delightful.
The nice thing about making your own tepache is you can customize it to your taste preferences. Want a sweeter tepache? Use more honey or brown sugar. Want a more sour/tangier tepache? Let it ferment longer.
Tepache can be customized to taste exactly like you want it, but it generally tastes like sweet pineapple juice combined with tangy kombucha.
Tyrant Farms Tepache Recipe
One thing that’s unique about the Tyrant Farms’ tepache recipe is that it ONLY uses pineapple skins, not the actual fruit.
Since we grow our own pineapples, the fruit is a rare treat for us, and we’re dang sure going to eat every bit of it. For us, tepache is a way to reduce food waste, get a second delicious product out of a single pineapple fruit, and get a nice health-boosting probiotic.
However, if you’d prefer, you can use pineapple skins, fruit, and the core when making your own tepache.
A delicious fermented Mexican beverage made with pineapples, tepache is a healthy probiotic that can be consumed cold or at room temperature.
- 1 cup pineapple skins, chopped
- 4 star anise
- 1 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 6 cups water(preferably un-chlorinated)
Put water, sugar, and honey in a bowl and whisk until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
Chop pineapple skins into 1" chunks. Add pineapple skins and star anise to the sugar-water bowl. Stir with a spoon.
Pour all ingredients into a large jar. Why not leave the mixture in the bowl? Because you only want a small percent of the surface area exposed to air. Cover the jar with a breathable cloth (such as cheesecloth or linen) and secure with a rubber band.
Store the jar indoors out of direct sunlight. Mix vigorously twice per day, once in the morning, once at night. Taste a small amount each day to see how it's evolving.
After 7-14 days, the tepache should be developed enough to be finished. It's up to your taste preferences to decide when it's done. Note that it will continue to develop (albeit much more slowly) in the fridge, becoming dryer and less sweet over time. When your tepache is fermented enough for your tastes, strain it and pour into sealed bottles (we love these reusable kombucha bottles) or jars. Refrigerate your tepache until you're ready to use it.
We hope you enjoy this pineapple tepache recipe and take a shot at growing your own pineapples!