Strange brew in the kitchen

I AM a great fan of tepache, that mildly alcoholic Mexican drink made from pineapple skins, water, sugar and any spices you care to add.

You don’t know it? Well wash a pineapple, trim off the peel and pop it in a large clean jar.

Add a tablespoon of sugar, brown is best but white will do (or honey), a sweet spice or two if you like, any pineapple juices, fill up with tepid water, give it a shake and cover loosely to keep the flies off (still some about), put somewhere warm and forget it for a few days. You can have the pineapple slices for tea.

Airborne yeasts and those on the pineapple will work their magic. You might find some scum on the top but scoop it off, strain and drink. I tend to leave it longer than a couple of days for a stronger brew. It keeps working in the fridge.

Sometimes I’ve had a little tepache left over in the fridge and I have added fresh apple juice to it. The mixture fizzes like mad after a couple of days.

This time, when I cut up my pineapple for tea I added some leftover homemade cider to the brew, the bit at the bottom of the bottle with the yeasty dregs in. Then a handful of crushed cranberries not used in the cranberry sauce at Christmas. A spoonful of sugar, some boiled water and that’s it.

Basically you can use any fruit for this mildly alcoholic beverage but pineapple does seem to be a good base.

I kept the fruit submerged with a large jar lid covered in clingfilm and tied down the muslin after taking the picture.

I like the idea of all this. There’s absolutely no waste as you get an almost free drink, your compost heap gets a feed and you might even finish up with a free plant.

Peel the lower leaves off the pineapple crown to reveal a lot of little nodules and stick it in a pot of plant compost or a jar of water to develop a root system.

It doesn’t work every time but you might strike lucky.

Let’s drink to that.