The Ancient Mexican Secret To Fighting Inflammation & Healing Your Gut

Photo: Nataša Mandić

Tonic by Tanita de Ruijt offers a glimpse of healing remedies from around the world, including truly innovative ways to fight back colds, quell inflammation, and more.  This recipe hails from Mexico and has been sold on the streets since pre-Columbian times. “Tepache is made using pineapple leftovers, such as the core and rinds, which are fermented with water and spices and unrefined sugar until the brew starts to fizz and develop a funky pineapple flavor,” explains de Rujit. “Refreshing, spicy, and a teeny touch boozy, it’s perfect for soothing a hangover, and brimming with anti-inflammatory spices and natural probiotics to boost your gut health along the way.” It also uses the whole pineapple, ensuring there’s no un-eco-friendly food waste left over!

Pineapple Tepache Tonic

Makes 2 liters (70 fl. oz.)

If you’ve decided to buy a pineapple especially for this occasion, you can use the whole fruit—just cut the skin off and eat the fruit for breakfast. The idea is that this tonic makes full use of the "waste."

Ingredients

  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3-cm (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger root, bruised
  • 5 allspice berries (optional)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, cracked
  • 1 overripe pineapple, peeled and cored (save all the waste, including the leaves)
  • 2 liters (70 fl. oz.) filtered water
  • 70 g (2½ oz. / ⅓ cup) rapadura sugar or raw cane sugar
  • Lime slice, sea salt, cayenne pepper, if desired

Method

  1. In a frying pan (skillet) set over medium heat, dry-toast the spices until they become aromatic.
  2. Put the rinsed pineapple waste (leaves, core, and rind) and spices into a large, 3-liter (105 fl. oz.) glass container or jug (pitcher) and add enough water to fill the remaining space.
  3. Cover the container or jug partially—with a muslin (cheesecloth) or some loose-fitting cling film (plastic wrap), or simply leave the lid slightly ajar—and leave it in a warm place for 2 to 3 days. The rate of fermentation will depend on how warm it is. When it is near fermentation, the top of the liquid should be frothy. Scoop off the froth with a wooden spoon.
  4. After 2 to 3 days, add the sugar, and loosely cover again. Feel free to reduce the sugar content a little, for a more tart flavor. Let it stand for 2 more days.
  5. Once it’s ready, strain (discard the pulp), and store in sterilized bottles (see p. 19) in the fridge. It will continue to ferment and fizz, so remember to "burp" it (open to release the pressure) at least once a day.
  6. Serve it ice-cold with lime, salt, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. If you’re really feeling worse for wear, do as the Mexicans do, and top it all off with a good glug of beer.

Based on excerpts from Tonic by Tanita de Ruijt, with the permission of Hardie Grant. Copyright © 2018.

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