How The Boiling Point Of Water Affects Cooking In High Altitudes
The boiling point of water changes depending on what altitude you live at. For those living in Aspen Colorado the boiling point of water is about 94 degrees Celsius or 202 Fahrenheit. As seen on this Temperature Converter This compares to a boiling point of 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Degrees Celsius in Miami Florida.
How Cooking With a Lower Boiling Point Is Different
For those living in as high altitudes as Aspen, Colorado, altitude 7822', cooking things like beans or lentils in an open pot may be difficult. This is because the molecules of water boil easier and therefore do not contain the same amount of heat energy as a pot of boiling water at sea level. The pot of beans in Aspen is about ten degrees or more cooler, but still boiling.
How To Solve the Problem Of High Altitude Cooking.
Simply placing a lid on the pot you are cooking in can increase the boiling point some and increase the amount of heat directed into the food. A better was is to use an old fashioned pressure cooker like grandma used to have in her kitchen. Pressure cookers reduce the boiling point so more heat has to be contained in the water and food before it boils, hence faster cooking times. Back when meals had to be prepared fast, often with wood heat, folks did not have time or fuel to waste. The used pressure cookers at all altitudes to make boiling of food easier. People who live at altitudes over 4000 feet recognize the effectiveness of pressure cookers to this day.
If you have moved to a higher altitude consider cooking beans, stews, lentils and other foods that require boiling in a pressure cooker.
Pressure Cooking Is Green
One more advantage of pressure cooker cooking besides more heat retention and faster cooking time is the fact that less energy is required to heat food. You can cook the same pot of beans, etc, with about half the energy in a pressure cooker. This makes the old fashioned pressure cooker a "green appliance." Regardless of whether you live at sea level or high in the mountains, using a pressure cooker can make cooking easier and save energy. Since food is cooked faster more nutrients are preserved inside instead of evaporating with the steam from an open pot.
Just use caution and follow the manufacturers instructions to avoid injury from steam when using a pressure cooker.