Traditional artisanal sauerkraut is unlike the sauerkraut from large commercial producers in that the former has no added vinegar or cultures and the cabbage is not pasteurized during the lacto-fermentation process. The lacto-fermentation process is a time-honored method that has been used throughout the world to preserve vegetables, milk, grains, meat and fish. Lactic acid bacteria, which are naturally available on healthy vegetables, actively convert vegetable sugars into lactic acid and carbon dioxide when the vegetable is sealed in an airtight container. At Hawthorne Valley Farms in Ghent, New York, freshly harvested vegetables are fermented at temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees for one to six weeks. Like other fermented foods, as the sauerkraut matures, its flavors become more intense and piquant. The bacteria and enzymes in artisanal sauerkraut have many health benefits. In the past, the lacto-fermentation process was a technique used not only to store foods, but also to add beneficial enzymes to the diet. These enzymes aid in digestion and enhance vitamin and nutrient absorption as well as assist with metabolic functions.