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KITCHEN CORNER -
High Altitude Recipes & Outdoor Tips

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High Altitude Cooking Tips & Techniques
Summary by Gary Courtney

For 2,500 feet or more above sea level, like at Vallecito
and surrounding environs.

Remember:

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Atmospheric pressure decreases,

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Humidity decreases (which can be good for hardening Hershey's cocoa fudge),
        and

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Evaporation rate of liquids increases.

Therefore, as a result:

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Water boils at 202 degrees Fahrenheit at 5,000 feet, as compared to 212 degrees at sea level.

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Foods at high altitudes will never cook at the same temperature and time used for the same recipe elsewhere, at lower elevations.

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Blanching time for canning food must be increased.

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More liquid must be added to flour, due to the low humidity.

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Some cooking time, such as for candy, frostings, and jellies, must actually be reduced, because of the faster evaporation rate of the sugar solutions.

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Deep-fat frying works better, because the boiling oil is a lower temperature.

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Baking a fish whole, with the head on, helps to seal in the juices at high altitude.

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Potato water and oatmeal are effective moisturizers for making breads.

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Tea brewing and coffee are both effected by the high altitude lower boiling point of water.
Tea must be brewed in a rolling boil water, and allowed to steep longer.

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Batters expand more rapidly at high altitudes.

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Egg whites can easily have too much air beaten into them, such as for angel food cakes..

Your best allies:

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A heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, and

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Heavy aluminum foil, to control evaporation,

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Meat and candy thermometers, to eliminate the guesswork of doneness
after atmospheric pressure adjustments,

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A pressure cooker,

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Double-acting baking powder, for slow release of leavening in cold mixtures,

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Butter, sour cream and buttermilk, for moisture in bread recipes,  and

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Containers to seal both ingredients, such as flour, and cooked foods from evaporation drying.

            Note:
                    If you are just starting to cook at high altitude, print these
                         reminders, and post them on your refrigerator door.

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< This segment is a place for favorite recipes or culinary tips you want to share.>

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High Country Fish Batter

Use this batter to seal in the tenderness and moisture of freshly-caught fish.

            1 - 11-ounce can of beer, preferably made in Durango,
            1 - teaspoon of salt,
            1/8 - teaspoon curry powder,
            1 - Tablespoon of double-acting baking powder,
                 Cake flour, added for thickness.

                     1.    Combine all ingredients, using just the amount of cake flour to make
                            the desired thickness.  Thin batter makes a crisper coating, and thick batter
                            will make a heavier coating.

                     2.    Dip fish in batter. Deep-fat fry in hot cooking oil or shortening,
                            pre-heated to 350 to 360 degrees F., or fry in a heavy skillet in preheated
                            shortening or oil about 1/8 inch deep. A cast iron skillet is best.
                            Fish is done when golden brown on both sides.

                If cooking out of a backpack, plain ole cornmeal is the next best thing.
                         Carry it sealed in a plastic, screw-top container.

                Packhorse trips usually have beer for batter, but it is usually already drank,
                         by fish cooking time.

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Copyright 2005 Gary D. Courtney