Determining Your Altitude Above Sea Level

Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600939

Determining Your Altitude Above Sea Level

It is important to know your approximate elevation or       
altitude above sea level in order to determine a safe       
processing time for canned foods. Since the boiling         
temperature of liquid is lower at higher elevations, it is  
critical that additional time be given for the safe         
processing of foods at altitudes above sea level.           

It is not practical to include alist of altitudes in this   
guide, since there is a wide variation within a State and   
even a county. For example, the sate of Kansas has areas    
with altitudes varying between 75 ft to 4, 039 ft above     
sea level. Kansas is not generally thought to have high     
altitudes, but there are many areas of the State where      
adjustments for altitude must be considered. Colorado, on   
the other hand, has people living in areas between 3,000    
and 10,000 ft above sea level. They tend to be more         
conscious of the need to make altitude adjustments in the   
various processing schedules. To list altitudes for         
specific counties may actually be misleading, due to the    
differences in geographic terrain within a county.          

If you are unsure about the altitude where you will be      
canning foods, consult your county Extension agent. An      
alternative source of information would be your local       
district conservationist with the Soil Conservation         
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