This vegan, environmentally-friendly cherry pie is beautiful, decadent, and surprisingly easy to prepare. It is comfort food for my husband and his siblings as their beloved mother Mary Lee Reynolds made it frequently.
Of course, fruit pies are most environmentally-friendly when made with fresh, seasonal fruit. However, this recipe is nice to have on hand. It uses only ingredients that you can keep in the pantry for when you need a gorgeous, delicious dessert for a special occasion that can be made pretty quickly. And, you can always use a filling made from fresh fruit and follow the lattice direction here.
Carbon footprint information:
Here is a breakdown of the carbon footprint of the major ingredients in this recipe and in one with a dairy butter crust:
|Cherry pie ingredients with vegan crust||Carbon footprint (g CO2-eq)||Cherry pie ingredients with dairy butter crust||Carbon footprint (g CO2-eq)|
|Wheat flour||87||Wheat flour||87|
In general, the numbers show that in any recipe you can really lower your carbon footprint by switching out dairy butter for a vegan butter. Butter has a footprint of 11.92 gram CO2-eq per gram while vegan butter has a footprint of 1.36 grams CO2-eq per gram. Conventional butter has a high carbon footprint because the natural metabolism of cows results in production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In addition, dairy cows require feed crops, which in turn require fossil fuels for fertilization, production, and transport. Finally, cow manure emits methane and nitrous oxide—both greenhouses gases!
Using vegan butter for the 1/2 cup called for in one bottom crust saves 1,183 g CO2-eq, or the amount of CO2-eq emitted in a 5.3 mile drive. This reduction constitutes 32% of the amount each person would need to save each day to reach the Paris Climate Accord targets.
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Conversion factors come from:
- Heller, M.C. and G.A. Keoleian, G.A. (2014) Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss. Journal of Industrial Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12174
- Meier, T., and O. Christen. 2013. Environmental Impacts of Dietary Recommendations and Dietary Styles: Germany As an Example. Environmental Science and Technology, 47, 877−888.
Nutritional information is from the USDA Food Composition Database.