Quick Recipes and Easy

Cooking In Higher Altitude Air

Cooking in a high altitude climate can be quite an experience for anyone who has never done so before. You may notice that the food you were trying to cook didn’t really taste as you had expected it would. Perhaps it also seemed to take a lot longer for it to get done too. What is going on here? Why is this happening? Excellent questions. Let’s take a closer look at why cooking food in high altitude is so much different.

First you need to know how air pressure works in different altitudes. The air pressure in lower altitudes, like 500 feet above sea level, is much lower than it is at 7500 feet above sea level. You most likely already know this if you’ve ever been in the mountains walking. It is sometimes harder to catch your breath. This same variation in air pressure also affects your cooking.

We all know that water boils at 212 degrees, but did you know that at 7500 feet above sea level, water boils at 198 degrees? That is a huge point when it comes to cooking any foods. This difference will have a dramatic affect on your food’s flavor and taste, as well as the overall cooking process.

When you’re cooking foods in boiling water at 212 degrees in high altitude you can literally cook them dry. The water and moisture in your foods will boil off much more quickly. So, you will need to make some changes in the temperature of the oil, or water, that you cook your foods in. If you don’t, your foods could be done on the outside and raw on the inside.

Your recipes for cooking candies, jellies and frostings will also need to be adjusted. The sugar syrups you use in these recipes will stick together a lot quicker in high altitude than when you cook them at a low altitude.

Cooking in a crock-pot can also be quite different. You will have to cook the foods in your crock-pot a lot longer than normal in high altitudes. One tip that may help is to use aluminum foil. If you will tear off a piece of aluminum foil and place it over the pot and under the lid, it will reflect the heat back down into the food you’re cooking. This is fantastic when cooking in high altitudes.

Another vital point you should be aware of concerns canned foods such as canned tomatoes, vegetables and fruits. Due to the lower boiling temperatures in high altitude, these foods will not become completely processed. What does this mean? Lower acid foods such as poultry, meats and vegetables can contain heat resistant bacteria because it hasn’t been processed long enough to kill it.

Cooking at high altitude requires educating yourself on the differences in the air pressure and how it will affect cooking your food. I strongly recommend reading some books on this to get the help you need. One such book that is brilliant in this area is, “The New High Altitude Cookbook” by Beverly Anderson and Donna Hamilton. It covers all the problems of cooking in higher altitudes. You will delight in it.

Don’t let high altitude cooking scare you away from cooking your favorite recipes for your family. Simply learn the changes that need to be made and you’ll soon be cooking like a pro!

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to cooking-guides.com/ Cooking

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