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High altitude cooking

High altitude cooking is a little different.

High above the sea level, certain foods and cooking techniques can be affected by the drop in air pressure.

The boiling point of liquids is lower. That means food, like vegetables or an egg, will take longer to cook, as you can cook for a short time at high temperature or for a long time at low temperature.

Cooking liquid evaporates faster and food could cook dry. You will need to use more liquid, between 10% to 25% more, depending on altitude.

Braised meats may take twice as long to cook, not only because of the lower temperature, but also because there is less pressure to force steam into the meat. Increase heat slightly and add more liquid.

Deep-fat-fried foods can become over-browned on the outside, but undercooked on the inside. Lower the temperature to avoid this.

Flour will be dryer and absorb more liquid, because of the lack of moisture in the air. Use minimum amount, up to ½ cup less.

Sugar syrups used in making candies, frostings and jellies concentrate quicker than at lower elevations.

Baking powder is more efficient. Use scant less or increase cooking temperature by 20 to 30 degrees. Yeast breads will rise quicker. Letting the bread rise twice produces a better quality.

Microwave cooking will take less time than above sea level.

A pressure cooker is an essential tool at high altitude, although cooking times will need to increase slightly. There are some foods impossible to cook without a pressure cooker, for instance dry beans. Without a pressure cooker, water would boil and evaporate before having reached the temperature required to cook the beans.

When canning and preserving, you should increase temperature or time to kill all bacteria. Use a steam pressure cooker for safety.

Slow cookers should be used on "high" or follow the instructions provided with the appliance for high altitude cooking.

Contact the local County Extension Agent, or Farm Advisors Office at the area you are moving for detailed instructions. You will find them in the phone directory under State or County Government listings.

Check the web sites of the state extension offices, state universities and junior colleges as some of them offer extensive information on food safety and high altitude cooking.