Out of all the trash I've eaten, pineapple peels might be my favourite. Not only can you use them to make an ice cold glass of tea or a decidedly tropical infused gin, but it has come to my attention that there is yet another fantastic beverage this noble scrap can be used for: Chicha de arroz con piña.
Photos by Claire Lower
Besides being an excellent vehicle for scraps, this drink is creamy (without containing any dairy), tropical and just sweet enough. To make it, you just need:
- A pineapple
- 1/2 cup of white rice
- 1/4 cup raw, brown or demerara sugar
- Cinnamon, cloves, allspice (optional)
Break down the pineapple by removing the peel and core, setting the crown aside for another use (such as growing another pineapple). Place the scraps in a pot, and add enough water to cover them. Chuck in whatever spices you desire, add the rice, cover, and bring to a boil. Let boil for about half an hour, until the rice is completely soft, then remove from the heat.
Using tongs, remove the peel and core pieces, leaving behind the rice. Give your tropical elixir a taste and - if you wish to sweeten the deal - add in 1/4 cup of sugar. Let everything cool completely. From here, you can proceed two ways: You can blend the rice into the liquid, then strain, or skip the blending and simply strain the rice out. I tried both, and found the drink to be a little too thick with the rice blended in (plus it saves you a step).
Serve chilled as is, or you can stir in some sweetened condensed milk and a little vanilla for an extra creamy and decadent treat that tastes like a sophisticated and sippable Dole pineapple whip. I also think rum would be a good idea, because rum is almost always a good idea, especially when pineapple is involved.