Aloe Gel: Harvesting the Fresh Stuff

Aloe Vera is a popular ingredient in skincare products, juices, and herbal remedies. Though these products have their advantages, it’s hard to improve upon the effectiveness of Aloe gel straight from the leaf of the plant.  Aloes are tough, low maintenance plants, and easy to grow indoors. Harvesting the Aloe gel for yourself allows you to access the good stuff at its freshest, most concentrated, and most effective. This is especially important when using Aloe topically. If you choose to ingest it, you can control the concentration of Aloe in your juice mixtures and smoothies.

What you will need:

  • An Aloe Vera plant
  • A sharp knife
  • A clean cutting board or work surface
  • Refrigerator storage containers

Optional: rubber gloves (useful to avoid scraping yourself on the serrated edges)

First, make sure your Aloe plant is mature and healthy. The leaves should be fleshy and green, and at least eight inches in length. The outermost leaves are the best to use. These are the oldest and largest, containing a thick, nutrient-rich gel layer. Although Aloe leaves will not grow back, the plant wound seals quickly and new growth (which emerges at the center) is not affected.

1. Remove the leaf. A sharp knife creates a clean cut, limiting damage to the plant. Slice close to the base of the leaf and away from the center of the plant.

2. Once you have your Aloe leaf, rinse the outer skin and knife well under running water.

3. Remove the serrated edges and skin. Mature Aloe Vera leaves are slightly curved. Place the concave side down on a cutting board. Next, slice around the perimeter. This will leave you with the top and bottom layer of skin, exposing the Aloe gel in between. The top layer of skin comes off next. Run the knife just under the surface and peel it away. Now you can flip the leaf over and do the same to the other side.

 

4. Transfer the Aloe gel to a storage container like a plastic or glass dish with a lid. You can scrape the leaves if you will be using the gel topically and you want to get every last bit. If you plan on consuming it, be forewarned that this portion may contain some aloin, a compound found in the skin which can have a laxative effect. Store in the fridge. fresh Aloe gel will keep for about a week. If you wind up with more than you can use in that time, stick your leftovers in the freezer. You can also lengthen the shelf life by adding vitamins. For every 1/4 cup of gel, add 500 mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of Vitamin E. You can grind Vitamin C caplets or drain Vitamin E capsules by pricking them with a small pin. Run the mixture of gel and vitamins through a blender, or stir vigorously with a spoon. This mixture can be stored for up to 8 months in the refrigerator.

For more help in demystifying the process, this video, How to Filet an Aloe Leaf, is a great visual aid!

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Fresh aloe is wonderful. Thanks for all the great info on harvesting. I’m referring my buyers to your website for more info.

    • Fran says

      4. Transfer the Aloe gel to a storage container like a plastic or glass dish with a lid. You can scrape the leaves if you will be using the gel topically and you want to get every last bit. If you plan on consuming it, be forewarned that this portion may contain some aloin, a compound found in the skin which can have a laxative effect. Store in the fridge. fresh Aloe gel will keep for about a week. If you wind up with more than you can use in that time, stick your leftovers in the freezer. You can also lengthen the shelf life by adding vitamins. For every 1/4 cup of gel, add 500 mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of Vitamin E. You can grind Vitamin C caplets or drain Vitamin E capsules by pricking them with a small pin. Run the mixture of gel and vitamins through a blender, or stir vigorously with a spoon. This mixture can be stored for up to 8 months in the refrigerator.

    • tracie says

      i use aloe all the time..i use veg n fruits for just about all my beauty and skin needs. i have started creating my own blends of herbal hot/cold teas, which has gone very well with ppl i have given samples. I think there should be a web page where ppl can sample and trade/sell their home..beauty…health products..as long as they were home grown and only organic products allowed…

      • tara says

        I made a blend for my sunburn, and husbands ridiculously dry working hands. Mostly cuz I think aloe smells like b.o I mixed with herbs from my garden, rosemary and lemon balm… I may have put honey in it too I think. Anyway, it was wonderful.

  2. Leisa says

    Thanks for the info on harvesting. How to keep it for longer than a week is wonderful. Never knew that before. Will definitely try it.

  3. Fran says

    It’s all ready to freeze in cubes and then place in freezer bags now. I’ve used Aloe as a natural health aid for over 30 years…Now I know how to keep it…Much appreciated information.

  4. tracie says

    This does not completely regard aloe plants….would like more information in essential oil making..i have begun making oil with strawberries…watermelon…lemon..and i am starting to play with flowers n herbs. Would love any ideas and/or methods anyone may have..THANK YOU in advance…

  5. tara says

    So I read somewhere that before you cut the leaf open for use, you should hang it. I stick it with a toothpick, and hang it from the side of a glass to let it drain out some yellow stuff that you don’t want. I don’t remember what this stuff is or why you don’t want it, but it made sense and works. Let drain about 20/30 mins.

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