Remove the rind from the pineapples, slicing vertically, keeping a bit of pineapple meat attached. Set cores aside and enjoy for something else (like grilling to have as a side)
Using a strong knife, break apart the panela into chunks.
Add pineapple rinds, water, spices and panela into a large container (traditionally clay-- something that won't let any light through-- but glass kept in a dark place will probably do).
Set in a dry place, cover with a clean tea towel and secure with rubber bands.
Stir once a day and leave for ferment for at least 3 days. Watch for a slight foam to develop on the surface-- at that point, ideally, let ferment for another half day to one day more. The tepache will then have reached its peak, and if left much longer, will begin to turn to vinegar.
Sara Franklin is a freelance food writer, oral historian and multi-media storyteller, integrating all that into her work towards a PhD in the Food Studies program at NYU. She's worked at the American Museum of Natural History on their forthcoming food exhibit, as a restaurant critic, farmer, urban agriculture instructor, curriculum designer, pie baker, researcher and anti-poverty advocate. She splits her time between Western Massachusetts and Brooklyn, and makes frequent trips to Brazil, where she is working on a cookbook about the multi-faceted role of manioc (a.k.a. cassava or yuca) root in Brazil's regional cuisines.
Neftali Duran was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, but immigrated to L.A. as a teenager, where he cut his teeth in restaurant kitchens. For the past nine years, he has been rooted in Western Massachusetts as the owner of El Jardin Bakery, an artisanal wood-fired bread bakery. He’s also an avid home cook and makes increasingly frequent appearances as a guest chef, preparing his take on traditional Oaxacan dishes at parties and events. He lives in Sunderland, Massachusetts.
Sally Ekus is a culinary literary agent at The Lisa Ekus Group. When not brokering book deals or assisting clients, she can be found feeding her yen for pho, running marathons and cooking and conceptualizing new dishes that you just can’t believe don’t contain gluten or dairy. She lives in Florence, Massachusetts.