Today it has been my lucky day. I was walking my dog and passing by a skip full to the brim of garden cuttings, In the pile I noticed two huge plants that looked just like my little potted Aloe Vera plant, only on a much bigger scale. I broke a leaf from this succulent plant and it did indeed had the same odorless gooey mucilage as my Aloe Vera plant at home.
Unfortunately, the plants have been cut at ground level so … no roots. I returned later with a sharp knife and a plastic bag. I cut about 20 big Aloe Vera leaves and took them home. I simply couldn’t face to let these beauties end up in the composting pile along with other weeds and garden overgrowth.
Back in my kitchen, although I regularly cut a bit of leaf from my Aloe and use the freshly squeezed healing gel instead of hair gel, face serum, or for soothing mosquitoes bites and other skin problems, I had no idea what I can do with so many Aloe leaves and how to make them last longer.
As usual, I did my research on the web so here’s what I found in a nutshell:
How to extract and process the Aloe Vera gel at home using a chopping board, vegetable peeler, a spoon and a stick blender:
Peel off the thorns as well. If any of the green leaf skin is left behind, cut it off with a sharp knife.
Aim for clear mucilage without any green bits.
Hold the tip of the leaf with one hand and scoop the Aloe Vera flesh using a spoon.
On a huge leaf like mine, a tablespoon took the most of the flesh out the first run but it took a second scoop to remove the rest of the flesh.
Put the flesh in the blender, add extras, blend until there are no more chunks and let it rest, in the fridge until the rich foam settles down.
Pour your freshly squeezed aloe vera juice into a container and use it or store it as you consider fit.
On storing Aloe Vera Leaves and gel:
An Aloe Vera Leaf can be kept refrigerated for a couple weeks and in the freezer in airtight bags for as longs as to 6 months.
Once the gel extracted from the leaf, Aloe Vera gel is at its best used right away but it can be stored on its own in the fridge for 10 days. Add some lemon juice and you can keep it fresh for longer.
In the freezer, Aloe Vera gel, can last for a much longer time. Freezing the fresh gel in ice cube trays or ice cube bags and using a cube when needed is the second best after the freshly extracted gel.
To make the freshly extracted Aloe Vera gel last a lot longer, add Vitamin E and/or Vitamin C to the blender in proportion of about 0.2%. Antibacterial and antioxidant essential oils such as Tea tree, Rosemary, Lavender, Lemon also help preserving the Aloe Vera gel (if one doesn’t intend to take it internally).
A few home uses of Aloe Vera Gel:
- Dab the gel on woulds, bruises, sores, spots, bug bites, etc, for relief and faster healing
- Use the Aloe Vera gel as a nourishing and hydrating hair gel
- make a luxurious and lathering shampoo: mix one part Aleo Vera gel with one part Liquid Castile Soap, plus a few drops of essential oil;
- replace the water with Aloe Vera Gel in DIY soap making
- it works just the same as above in making home made shower gel;
- in home made face creams and body milks, – recipes and instructions to come.
- in oral care: rubbing a bit of Aloe Vera Juice on sore gums, soothes and heals.
- Brush your teeth and gums with Aloe Vera juice.
- Treat the dog: all of the above uses of Aloe Vera Gel are also safe and beneficial for dogs.
I also came across hundreds of articles on the benefits of taking Aloe Vera Gel internally. I’ll try some recipes and share my thoughts in a future post, until then, read more about why is important to have an Aloe Vera plant in your home and use the freshly extracted aloe Vera juice
Do you have an Aloe Vera plant at home? What do you use it for? Do you have any extra tips on extracting, using and storing Aloe Vera juice?