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Problem cooking orzo at high altitude

I can cook orzo to perfection at low altitudes (cook time: 11 minutes) but high altitude (8000 feet) presents a big problem. The same amount of orzo cooked for the same 11 minutes turns out mushy and not as plump. I'm hoping someone can help.

asked by JanetFL over 4 years ago
8 answers 1829 views
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added over 4 years ago

hmm...do you let the water get to full rolling boil before adding the orzo? I have cooked it backpacking at about 9 or 10,000ft and it just takes a lot of patience to wait for the water to come to a full boil before adding the pasta. I am always tempted to add it as soon as I see bubbles, but that will make it mushy.

31cf169d f83a 458c 9946 a9a0311207c3  cumberland pass atv trip july 20 2013 019
added over 4 years ago

Thanks, lloreen. I will give it another try and see if that is my problem.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 4 years ago

Higher altitude reduces The temperature at which water boils. So it seems unlikely that the same amount of time would produce overcooked orzo. I would guess you either timed it incorrectly or you are using a different brand/size of orzo and that is why it is overcooked.

31cf169d f83a 458c 9946 a9a0311207c3  cumberland pass atv trip july 20 2013 019
added over 4 years ago

Renee, I'm using the same brand and size orzo that I use at low altitude. I should have explained that while the orzo at high altitude is mushy, it doesn't seem overcooked. It doesn't plump up as fully and it retains a bit of hardness in the center. As I'm responding to you, I'm wondering if I should experiment with longer cooking times. Any thoughts?

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added over 4 years ago

I have cooked and lived at high altitude and everything takes longer. Water boils faster at high altitude AND it takes longer to cook food because the water boils at a lower temperature.

31cf169d f83a 458c 9946 a9a0311207c3  cumberland pass atv trip july 20 2013 019
added over 4 years ago

Thanks, SKK - I will experiment with longer cooking times. It's odd that other types of pasta, such as fettucine and penne, turn out just fine using my low altitude cooking times.

8a5161fb 3215 4036 ad80 9f60a53189da  buddhacat
SKK
added over 4 years ago

Janet, let us know how it turns out. Good luck!