The perfect fall treat
Pumpkins are big business in Illinois.
Currently, nearly 40% of the pumpkins grown in the United States are from Illinois, with production exceeding 650 million pounds in 2021. The next closest state, Indiana grew just over 180 million pounds of pumpkins. With the large 18,000 acres of production come two of the largest pumpkin processing plants in Illinois, including Nestle Libby in Morton and Seneca Foods in Princeville.
Good to eat
The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health.
A diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.