Everyone who loves natural remedies knows about the beauty and medical benefits of aloe vera. The aloe vera is something we can’t get enough of. Full of minerals, vitamins, and Amino acids. Aloe gel has long been known for its healing properties and now used as an essential element of alternative medicine and cosmetology. Little do people know that aloe gel works best when fresh. Aloe loses it’s potency for healing when it is cut up and left to oxidize. We’ll look at how to prepare and store your fresh aloe vera at home under the following headings:
- Storing Whole Leaves of Aloe Vera
- Extracting and Storing the Aloe Gel
- Mixing Honey and Aloe for Home Storage
- Blending Aloe with Vitamin C for Home Storage
Let’s quickly delve in.
How to Store Aloe Vera at Home
Storing Whole Leaves of Aloe Vera
To do this,
Keep a whole aloe leaf in the fridge for 4-5 days. Wrap the leaf in plastic wrap, taking care to cover the cut end where it used to be connected to the rest of the plant. Once you are ready to use the leaf, simply unwrap it from the plastic wrap and begin the process to extract the gel.
Use a permanent marker to write the date on the plastic wrap so you remember how long you have before you need to use it.
Freeze the aloe leaves for long-term storage. Simply take your aloe leaf, place it into a plastic freezer bag, and set it in the freezer. Your aloe leaf will have the best consistency and taste ( if you are consuming it) use it within 6-8 months, though technically it will stay good for much longer than that.
For an extra measure of protection, you could even wrap the leaf in plastic wrap before putting it into the plastic bag.
Defrost frozen aloe leaves by leaving them on the counter or putting them in a little bowl of water large enough to cover the leaves. Let them come to room temperature, which may take anywhere from 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the leaf.
Never defrost a frozen aloe leaf in the microwave—this will change the consistency and will drastically decrease its health benefits!
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Extracting and Storing the Aloe Gel
Preparing the Aloe Leaf
Rinse the aloe leaf under cool water. Use a leaf you either purchased at the store or one that you trimmed from a plant you have at home. Rinse off any visible dirt or sticky residue that you notice on the leaf. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
If you are using a leaf you just got from a plant at home, set it upright in a glass or jar for about 15 minutes before moving on. This will allow the aloin (a red/yellow liquid) to drain out of the leaf. Aloin can cause diarrhea and other stomach problems if it is consumed.
Trimming the Leaf
Trim off the top and bottom parts of the leaf. Use a clean cutting board and a sharp knife to trim off the top quarter of the aloe, as well as the bottom quarter (where the leaf attached to the rest of the plant). These sections generally don’t contain much usable aloe gel.
Be cautious when handling the aloe leaf that you don’t cut your hand on the spikes that run along each side.
De-spiking the Aloe Leaf
Cut off both spiked sides from the aloe leaf. Place the aloe leaf so that it’s flat against the cutting board. Then, cut away the spiked sides by running your knife along the length of the leaf. Try to cut away as little of the actual meat of the leaf as possible.
Using a smaller, sharp knife gives you more control than if you were to use a larger chef’s knife.
Extracting the Aloe Gel
Peel the top and bottom exterior of the leaf using a vegetable peeler. Keep the leaf flat against the cutting board. Take your vegetable peeler and start peeling from the top of the leaf. Work your way down to the bottom of the leaf, removing the exterior skin in sections until it’s gone. Flip the aloe over and repeat the peeling process on the other side.
When you’re done, the green exterior of the aloe should be gone, leaving you with the opaque gel from the center.
If there are small streaks of green you can’t remove with your peeler, use your knife to carefully slice them away.
The aloe will be sticky and a little slimy. Try to keep your hand that holds the peeler/knife as dry as possible to keep the utensil from slipping.
Dicing The Aloe Gel
Dice the raw aloe gel into small cubes. Take your knife and slice the aloe into small, equally-sized cubes, taking care to not cut your hands in the process. At this stage, you could really leave the aloe in whatever size you prefer—small cubes are a good size for using in smoothies or drinks later.
You can leave the diced aloe on the cutting board as you work your way down the leaf, or you can place it into a small, clean bowl set off to the side.
Storing the Aloe Gel
Store fresh aloe gel in the fridge for up to 10 days. Place the gel in a clean, airtight container and leave it in the fridge while you use it in beauty products, drinks and smoothies, and for sunburn care.
Label the container so you’ll remember how long it’s good for.
If the gel is getting close to the 10-day mark, you can freeze what remains so that none of it goes to waste!
Packaging the Gel for Storage
Place the gel into small resealable bags if you want to freeze it. Depending on how you are planning to use your aloe (as additions to a smoothie or beverage, in beauty products, or for burn relief), place various-sized handfuls of the diced aloe into small, resealable bags.
Sometimes aloe gel can get discolored when it’s frozen. Adding vitamin E to the gel can help prevent this.
You could also gently blend the diced aloe for 30 seconds and then pour it into ice cube molds.
Make sure to label the baggie with the item description and the date upon which you placed it into the freezer.
Storing the Gel
Store the aloe in the freezer for up to 8 months. When you first place the baggies into the freezer, take caution to not stack anything else on top of them to prevent them from getting squished and freezing in strange shapes.
If you are freezing multiple baggies, try to not squeeze too many bags together in a small place. When they freeze, they could mold to one another, making it difficult for you to extract a bag when you want to use one in the future.
Defrosting the Gel
Defrost frozen aloe on the counter or use it in its still-frozen form. You can add a few cubes of aloe to a smoothie. You can rub it with honey and coconut oil over sunburn to help it heal faster. There are plenty of ways to use aloe gel!
Never put frozen aloe into the microwave—it will change the consistency and decrease the medical benefits.
Mixing Honey and Aloe for Home Storage
Blending the Aloe
Blend your harvested aloe in a blender for 30 seconds. Use peeled, cubed aloe harvested from a leaf you bought at the store or trimmed from a plant you have at home. Pulse it in the blender until it has a smooth consistency.
You don’t have to blend the aloe, but it does make it easier to mix in with the honey and gives the mixture a smoother texture.
Measuring the Aloe
Measure out how much aloe you have. Use a food scale or a measuring cup to divvy out the quantity of aloe you are using. Then place the measured aloe into a clean bowl.
If you are using a food scale, you could just place the clean bowl on the scale and measure the aloe directly into that so you don’t get more dishes dirty.
Making the Aloe-Honey Mix
Mix the aloe with an equal amount of honey. Use 100% natural, raw honey, which you can purchase at health food stores or possibly at your local grocery store. Put the honey into the bowl with the aloe vera, and use a spoon to mix them together until it has a smooth consistency.
Honey is a great product to use to store aloe because it never goes bad. Mixing equal amounts of aloe and honey extends the shelf life of the aloe exponentially.
This is also a great way to preserve raw aloe gel that is on the brink of expiring.
Storing the Aloe-Honey Mix
Store the aloe-honey in a glass, airtight container for up to 3 years. Keep the mixture in a cool, dry place. Make sure the container is clean and dry before you use it. You could store it in smaller containers and give it a brand name or give it as a gift to that dear friend of yours that needs her skin fixed.
Using the Mix
Use the aloe-honey on your face or as an addition to beverages. You can use aloe-honey on your face to help clear up acne. You can also put it on your hair as a moisturizing mask. You could use it as a sweetener in hot teas, or add it to your morning smoothie to sweeten it up a little bit.
You could even bake with the aloe-honey. If you have a recipe that calls for honey, simply substitute this mixture in its place. For other tips on cooking with the aloe-honey mix, click here.
- Add lemon juice to fresh aloe gel to give it a slightly longer shelf life and to give it a fresh, citrusy scent (if you don’t need to consume it internally)
- You can often find aloe leaves at health food stores, or you could buy a plant so you can harvest your own gel whenever you need it!
- You can also add a few drops of essential oils, such as rosemary, lemon, or lavender, to extend the shelf life of fresh aloe vera gel.
- If you have leftover aloe vera and are wondering what to do with it, try making a healthy aloe vera tea or juice.
Blending Aloe with Vitamin C for Home Storage
Preparing the Aloe Gel
Put your aloe vera gel into a blender but don’t blend yet. The gel has a very gelatinous texture in its raw state and this can make it difficult to work with when using the gel for some purposes.
Putting the gel through the blender allows it to become separated and liquified. This makes it much easier to work with.
Preparing the Aloe-Vitamin C Mix
Add your crushed vitamin C tablet. For every ¼ cup (60ml) of gel, add in 500 milligrams (0.018 oz) of vitamin C to the mixture. This combination will help preserve the gel for up to 8 months in the refrigerator once it has been mixed in.
You can buy vitamin C from your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Blending the Mix
Blend your gel on high for a few seconds. This will ensure that the vitamin C is mixed in with the aloe vera and that the texture becomes liquefied and broken down. You should be left with an aloe vera juice.
The juice should be much more runny and less gelatinous than it was before.
Packaging the Juice
Transfer the juice to a covered plastic container. There will be a foamy layer on the top of the liquid but this will go away after a few days so there’s no need to worry about it.
Storing the Juice
Move your juice to the refrigerator for storage. The juice is now ready to be used or stored for up to a month.
Although you can drink this aloe juice by itself, it goes well with other juices, smoothies, and teas.
You can also use this juice as a moisturizer, body wash, hair hydrant.
Things You Will Need to Store Your Aloe at Home
Storing Whole Leaves
- Plastic wrap
- Plastic freezer bags
Extracting and Storing the Gel
- Aloe leaf
- Paper towels
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Small bowl (optional)
- Airtight container
- Resealable baggies
Mixing Honey and Aloe
- Diced, peeled aloe
- Measuring cups
- Food scale (optional)
- Airtight, glass jar
Mixing Aloe and Vitamin C
- 500mg of vitamin c
- Plastic container
With these, you are fully equipped to enhance and store your aloe gel effectively. As we have illustrated throughout this article, with the right tools, storing aloe gel is a relatively straightforward affair. If you have any questions or feel we left out something, hit us up in the comments section.