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.
Nevertheless, given our love of tropical fruits and obsession with gardening/farming, we’ve figured out how to grow things like citrus and bananas that would not normally grow in our climate zone.
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
We also eat and drink a lot of home-grown, homemade probiotics: milk kefir, sauerkraut, elderflower and wild black cherry cordials – just to name a few.
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!
Get a taste of other articles you’ll love:
- Golden raspberry, elderflower, and honey fermented cordial
- Native passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata) & Meyer lemon sparkling cordial
- Fermented wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) cordial
- Sparkling fermented lemonade with honey
- Honey-fermented kumquats
- Easiest turmeric and ginger bug recipe
- Wisteria, mimosa, and other wild flower cordials
- Chickweed wine recipe
- Tony & Andrea’s pumpkin “champagne” recipe
- Fermented chicha morada – purple corn beer
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Pat BradleyOctober 13, 2022 at 8:16 pm
Excited to try the drink just canned a dozen “free” pineapples and am making two 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon of tepache guess I’ll have to share!
Aaron von FrankOctober 14, 2022 at 7:19 am
Hope you enjoy your tepache! It’s a great flavor.
BagOfSunshineJune 30, 2022 at 7:59 pm
I was looking for haymakers Switzerland recipes when I saw this. Never heard of it so I clicked, and wow, what a treasure this page is! Gardening info on how to grow pineapples as well as a probiotic beverage recipe! We’ve been buying pineapples from the farmers market and I always feel bad composting the skins; just seems wasteful because of all the fruit attached. This is awesome. I have a half pineapple in my fridge right now and imma gonna go plant it and make this tepache. Five stars, great blog entry, it’s a treasure box of useful info.
Aaron von FrankJuly 1, 2022 at 11:33 am
Thanks so much! Yes, every pineapple can be a zero waste food that grows an infinite number of future pineapples. The skins can be used to make tepache, then composted. The tops can be used to grow more pineapples. Then the process repeats. Hope you enjoy your homemade tepache!
JenniferApril 6, 2021 at 9:56 am
Waiting on my first batch.
One thing I noticed, this recipe compared to other tepache uses les of the fruit/skins. Some call for using ALL of the skins, not just a cup. Is that because their purpose is more the “Mexican beer” than a probiotic?
Aaron von FrankApril 6, 2021 at 11:34 am
Hi Jennifer! Not sure what discrepancies might exist between our tepache recipe and others – or why. One thing: when you chop up the pineapple skins, it’s a lot smaller quantity to measure than it would be in large chunks. Obviously, the size of the pineapple will also determine the quantity of skin which is why we used exact measurements (cups) rather than telling people to use one pineapple skin. Any time we have skins from one of our ripe pineapples, this is our go-to recipe. Hope you enjoy it!