The cabbage I harvested and prepared for sauerkraut two weeks ago is ready for the next step. There are two choices at this point. One keeps the probiotics alive, the other ends the life of the microorganisms that are beneficial for digestion. My choice is to transfer the kraut from the crock to the refrigerator so the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) stay alive.
The other option has some advantages and advocates. That option is to process the sauerkraut by boiling or pressure cooking. It results in sauerkraut that that is shelf stable and does not require refrigeration. Cooking kills the bacteria and the kraut is stable long term. After a year on the shelf it would be perfectly fine if good canning practices were used. Sauerkraut processed in this way at grocery stores is available for less than $2.00 a pint.
Purchasing raw sauerkraut with the viable probiotics at a grocery will cost from $5.00-$7.00 dollars a pint. I want to keep mine like the expensive stuff. The 3 and half quarts I have will give me pros in the fridge. I will need to check on the jars every month to make sure no unwanted color is forming on the surface of the kraut. If anything pink appears I will need to throw out the contents since that indicates unwanted microbes that cause stomach issues.
Having this sauerkraut in the fridge gives me the feeling that I’m doing things the right way. My family will benefit from the healthy probiotics. The cabbage came from a bed in the front yard that had been lawn when we moved here. I know that no chemicals have been used on the ground in the 13 years we have been here. Prior to this hillside being a residential neighborhood, it was pastureland. Healthy food from healthy soil makes for a healthy world.