Fermented-juice pairings are a huge part of our vegetarian tasting menus at Alice.
We love this recipe because it always turns out so well and it’s so quick and easy to make. You can use the whole fruit, including the skin and seeds. And you can use almost any fruit you want. At Alice we’ve made tepache with mango, papaya, strawberries, pine cones, spruce tips and gooseberries. But for this version, use a sweet summer melon like honeydew or cantaloupe. —Briana Kim – Alice, Ottawa
- 1 large honeydew, cantaloupe or similar melon, about 1 kg (2 lb)
- 120 g (4 oz) brown or cane sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1 small chili, split
- 1⁄2 tbsp fennel seed, toasted
Wash the melon, cut into chunks and transfer to a large jar. Add sugar, vanilla, chili, fennel and 1.5 L (6 cups) water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Use a fermentation weight (or a small plate or large glass) to press the fruit beneath the surface of the liquid (to prevent mould). Cover the jar with a breathable material (coffee filters, cheesecloth or a dishtowel) secured in place with an elastic band.
Set aside on a shaded countertop until bubbles form at the surface and the liquid tastes sweet and tangy—2 to 3 days.
Strain into a container and drink right away or refrigerate until desired. Or, to carbonate the juice with a secondary fermentation, transfer the liquid to sealable bottles, leaving 5 cm (2 inches) space at the top. Seal and set aside on the counter until desired carbonation is attained—another 2 to 3 days. Undo the lids to release air pressure, reseal and store in the refrigerator until desired.
Yield: About 1.5L
📷 (Portrait) David Kawai. (Food) Jacob Richler