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How to turn pineapple skin into a refreshing drink

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Whenever I discover a wonderful new ingredient or dish, I feel giddy with excitement. I jump up and down, flap my hands and talk really fast, while enthusiastically promoting my new find to anyone who’ll listen.

Tepache is one such discovery. I came across it at Sanchez, a taco bar in Copenhagen run by former Noma chef Rosio Sanchez. It’s a fermented pineapple drink with a long history dating back to pre-Columbian Mexico, and it’s made thriftily from the pineapple skin, top and core. It’s similar to kefir or kombucha, but easier to make. Being fermented, tepache is a probiotic, gut-friendly refreshment that is sweet, sour, effervescent and mildly boozy. It’s delicious served cold on ice, and spiked with a dash of beer or lime.

Rosio says to make good tepache you must use the sweetest pineapple, and that if you agitate the mix by stirring it and incorporating oxygen, it will speed up the process.

When you peel a pineapple, you end up carving off quite a lot of flesh. This, along with the core (which can be too fibrous to consume raw), is a valuable part of the fruit and too much of an opportunity to waste.

Tepache, or fermented pineapple juice

Pineapple tepache: a refreshing kombucha-style drink from stuff you’d normally chuck.
 Pineapple tepache: a refreshing, kombucha-style drink made from the bits of the fruit that usually go in the compost. Photograph: Tom Hunt for the Guardian

This probiotic gut-friendly refreshment is sweet, sour and lightly effervescent. It is delicious as it is or spiked with a little beer and/or lime juice.

Peel, top and core from 1 pineapple
250g raw cane sugar
 (piloncillo, jaggery, rapadura or muscovado)
1 stick cinnamon (optional)

Before peeling the pineapple, wash the skin well in fresh water. Put all the ingredients in a sterilised three- or four-litre glass or ceramic jar and cover with three litres of water (or more, if necessary). Weight down the skins with a clean bowl, then cover the top with a cloth held on with a rubber band. Leave to ferment at room temperature for three to five days, or until the mixture becomes cloudy and effervescent. If any white mould occurs on the surface, remove with a clean spoon. When the mixture is ready, blend, chill and serve on ice. Store bottled in the fridge for up to a month.

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