I’ve always dismissed freeze-dried vegetables as the stuff of lonely astronauts and salty soup mixes. But I have a newfound appreciation of waterless produce after last weekend’s kayaking trip. When cooking campfire food, I tend to lean heavily on quick noodle and rice dishes, and the only fruits and vegetables you’ll find in my pack are the cranberries and raisins in my GORP. But this time I brought along some dried peas and tomatoes, which made my seafood-less paella seem slightly more authentic, and my orzo with olives, prosciutto and Piave cheese slightly less salty.

Serendipitously, a box of freeze-dried vegetables from Crunchies arrived in our office this morning. Their mix of roasted vegetables will make the base for a fine risotto and soup on my next trip, and their grilled edamame with wild rice is a fine snack on its own.

Here are two more sources for great freeze-dried produce: Just Tomatoes and Nature’s Flavors.