Joseph Konvicka, the Durham program coordinator for PWC, will be teaching the series. He has prior experience creating fermented food and beverages and hopes to share his enthusiasm and interest in fermentation with others through this series.
“It’s something that I think a lot of people are interested in learning about but don’t have a lot of hands-on experience," Konvicka said. "So, I figured ‘Hey, let’s teach them some cool classes.’”
The first class in the series, which is coming Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., will specifically focus on the process of making kombucha, a drink that has seen a massive rise in popularity in recent years. The drink is available at most grocery stores, but PWC hopes to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of flavors available by making homemade kombucha.
"(Kombucha is) essentially slightly vinegary sweet tea,” Konvicka said. “There are a lot of flavors you can buy in the store, but once you make something yourself, you can really do whatever you want. So, your imagination is the limit.”
The second class in the series, taking place on March 2, will specialize in the creation of kimchi. Kimchi is a staple food in Korean culture, commonly containing cabbage and radishes that are fermented in a salty brine. Konvicka hopes to educate people on the creative ways to utilize fermentation to make something delicious.
“I would have these vegetables that I didn’t always know what to do with,” Konvicka said. “I started making kimchi in a traditional way, but then I would throw something else in there so I wouldn’t be leaving my vegetables to rot in my refrigerator. I would turn it into something tasty.”
Maggie Chilton, another program coordinator for PWC, is attending the second event to learn more about kimchi, the health benefits and how to make it. She said the recent movement in food involving probiotics and fermentation interests her.
“Fermented food is something, as humans, we’ve been eating for a long time. It’s something I’d like to learn more about,” Chilton said. “I’m interested in how it can benefit our health and simply how to actually make it.”
PWC hopes people will find value in the series beyond simply having the knowledge to make fermented food and drinks.
“I find it to be therapeutic, just to work on something," Konvicka said. "Fermenting foods is a very hands-on activity. It’s something I really like to do. It keeps me occupied.”
Series hosted by PWC in the past have brought people together and created a community through shared interests and collaborative learning, Konvicka said.
“I’ve taught classes with this organization before, and what I really like about them is that you always meet someone new,” Konvicka said. “People enjoy learning and they enjoy camaraderie, and that’s what I hope to bring forth in these classes.”