Tepache – An Explosive Tale

If you read my previous opost right under this one you are aware that my new interest lies within fermentation.  If you haven’t read that post do me a quick favor, scroll down and give it a read.  There are a couple of videos and things that will help this make more sense.  My first attempt in the fermentation game was Tepache — A refreshing pineapple drink that is popular with street vendors in Mexico.

The idea is pretty simple — Pineapple rind and ginger contain a lot of natural yeast.  Add sugar for the yeast organisms to feast on and they produce carbon dioxide waste which carbonates your beverage.  If you’re more of a visual learner, here it is in a nice simple picture:

fermented

So what’s the point of drinking a fermented beverage?  Well, for me it was to just mess around with science and create a refreshing mixer for beer and dark rum.  If you’re into the health stuff, fermentation introduces bacteria to your system that helps with digestion and helps you absorb nutrients better.  You know how Jaime Lee Curtis talks about how Activia yogurt will help keep you “regular”?  Yeah, that.  Basically, fermented foods and drinks help you poop better.

So in summary you can either eat foods such as yogurt that introduce natural probiotics to your system or you can leave a bunch of fruit and sugar in a jar for a week to create a low alcohol beverage that you can mix with high alcohol alcohol beverages that makes you poop better.  Man, that was a long sentence.

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The version of Tepache I contained the following ingredients:

  • One whole pineapple, rind on
  • One piece of ginger
  • One habanero pepper without seeds
  • 1lb of brown sugar (more on this later)
  • One gallon distilled or boiled water

It then sat in a glass jar in dark area for four days while the yeast snacked on the massive amount of brown sugar I added.  Some people say you only need to do this for three but on day three I was tired from work and said F it.  On day four I had a slightly carbonated beverage that was much less sweet than when I first put it together.  I then strained the beverage through cheese cloth and into airtight glass containers to allow for further carbonation.

Here’s where this whole thing gets interesting.  I was having dinner in Ypsilanti when I get a call from my wife letting me know that something sounded like a bomb just went off in our home.  Turns out one of the glass bottles with my Tepache exploded due to carbon dioxide build up.  There was glass and Tepache everywhere.  It was an absolute mess.  Luckily, the other two bottles remained intact and produced a delicious drink that I quickly mixed with a wheat beer.  It was fantastic and I won’t go into any details about the health benefits that followed.

So here’s my only issue — either I added too sugar at the beginning or I filled my bottles up too high.  Problem is, there’s only one way to find out and that’s make more fermented beverages and see if they explode or not.  I’m up to that challenge and I am completely sure that my wife will be fine with the possibility of more glass shrapnel in our home.

NEXT UP : Fermented Ginger Beer!  Stay tuned!

Fermentation

I’ll admit, not much going on in terms of food these days.  I’m getting off three days of being sick and haven’t been outside in 48 hours.  What do I do while locked in the house for multiple days, you might ask?

I watch food and beverage shows on YouTube.  This time I around, I watched a few videos and pulled the trigger on something I have been wanting to experiment with for a long time:  Fermentation, or to make it really simple:  playing with bacteria in my food and drink.  To get me started, I have purchased single product.. a one gallon glass jar.

In this jar, I will start by making two things.  The first is Tepache, a Pineapple drink popular in Mexico that contains pineapple, brown sugar, water and cloves.  It then sits for three days while the bacteria eats the sugar and then you have a delicious bubbly, probiotic drink.  Apparently it also goes well with tequila or rum.  Or any kind of alcohol.

Side note, I urge you to watch the following video about the steps necessary to make Tepache.  Even if you have no interest, this series on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel about cooking with bacteria is the best.

The second will be ginger ale which is done by creating a “ginger bug”, basically mixing ginger and sugar so the bacteria from the ginger feeds on the sugar and creates fermentation, then mixing with it with a homemade ginger tea.  This typically sits for a week before you have a delicious bacteria carbonated ginger ale.  I’ll be completely honest, I’m doing this because I’m curious how much better it will taste with Wild Turkey than my store bought ginger beer.  Notice a trend here?

If any of you have any experience in this field let me know.  I’m eventually going to want to make some Mead, AKA Honey Wine, and I’m sure I’ll fall into a rabbit hole after that.  I have created a new category to organize this exploration so if you’re interested, keep checking back.