Cooking in Colorado Requires Knowledge of High Altitude Rules.

100 Real Estate Tips in 100 Days (Day 27)

Newcomers to Colorado may find the best thing to make when it is time to eat are reservations! This advice might be very practical when first experiencing a dinner of very tough spaghetti or potatoes that won't mash!

Of course, eating out day after day gets to be a drag both on the budget and the waistline.  Learning to cook at high altitudes is simple once one knows the basics and can adjust accordingly.

The elevation also has strange effects on cooking. Water boils at a lower temperature, so when boiling potatoes, it will appear they should be done cooking much sooner. They won't cook faster, the cook must learn to allow a longer time for anything that requires cooking in boiling water, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, etc. Slow cooking or braising needs an extra hour of cooking for every 1,000 feet above 4,000 feet above sea level.

Baking a cake can be a disaster when attention is not paid to the instructions. Box cake mixes come with high altitude cooking instructions included. One just needs to remember to pay attention to the altitude. Of course, it is also necessary to know approximately how high you are!

Altitude   Water Boiling Point  
0 sea level 212°F (100°C)
1000 feet (305 meters) 210°F (98.9°C)
2000 feet (610 meters) 208°F (97.8°C)
3000 feet (914 meters) 206.4°F (96.9°C)
4000 feet (1219 meters) 204.5°F (95.8°C)
5000 feet (1524 meters) 202.75°F (94.9°C)
8000 feet (2438 meters) 197.5°F (91.9°C)

Some recipes just need experimentation to determine the best method for cooking. The Colorado State University Extension offers excellent information in a PDF download called High Altitude, Food Preparation Guide.

With patience and practice, one can master the art of high altitude cooking.  Mostly it takes remembering to make the adjustments when baking and allowing for extra time when boiling water. Remember those two facts and cooking at Denver's high altitude should not be disappointing to you and your guests.

Copyright Kristal Kraft ~ all Rights Reserved