Aloe is a popular plant that nearly everyone has around the house. Many people just like the way aloe looks, but you’re missing out if you don’t use the aloe extract from your plant for all of the health and wellness benefits it provides.
We’ve probably all heard of aloe vera’s many medicinal and beautifying uses, including its ability to treat sunburn, moisturize skin and soothe irritation. But not many of us will have thought to harvest our own aloe vera gel from an aloe plant.If you’ve got some free time on your hands and you’re looking to get creative, this video will cover everything you need to know about how to make your own aloe vera gel.
1. Gather your equipment
To get started, gather your utensils and ingredients. You’ll just need some scissors or a sharp knife to cut through your aloe plant, a chopping board, and a storage container.
2. Wash your hands and tools
First, wash your hands and any cutting tools you plan to use. Don’t plan to just tear the leaves off, as this can damage the plant. Equally, using a dirty pair of scissors or knife could contaminate and infect your aloe, which you definitely don’t want if you’re aiming to own a healthy plant that you can harvest from for years to come.
3. Select your aloe plant
Make sure to choose your aloe plant well. You’ll want to take the aloe extract from a well-established plant that is at least a few years old. Go for the large, thick leaves that are growing at the base of the plant.
4. Cut as close to the main stalk as you can
If you take your cuttings as close to the central stalk as possible, you’ll get more aloe extract from the leaf. Just make sure not to damage the actual central stalk while you’re hacking away. The outer leaves of the plant are best, as they'll contain plenty of fresh, healthy gel.
5. Drain the leaves in a jar or glass
After you have cut your leaves, you’ll need to put them in a jar or glass to drain. Aloe contains a yellow-ish latex substance called aloin, which is slightly irritating to the skin, and can cause gastric issues if you ingest it.
Let the aloe drain for about 10 to 15 minutes, before rinsing your leaves off with cold water and patting dry.
6. Cut the aloe skin
To get at the aloe vera gel the easiest, you’ll want to cut the skin away. Use a small clean, sharp paring knife or a filet knife to remove the skin from your aloe. You’ll notice one side of the leaf is more rounded, and the other side is flatter.
Put the flat side down and use your knife to trim away the spines, keeping as close to the edge as possible to prevent waste. If you have large leaves, it may be helpful to cut them into smaller pieces before peeling.
7. Carefully cut the side spines and skin off
Flip your leaf over and trim the flat outer skin from your stalk, again keeping your cut as close to the skin as possible. Now you can trim the skin away from the other side. You might find this to be a little tricky, as the aloe vera gel is very slippery, so make sure to take your time.
8. Rinse the gel again
By this point, you will be left with a pretty substantial chunk of aloe gel. You’ll need to rinse it again to remove any remaining aloin.
And that’s all there is to it. Depending on the size of your aloe plant, two to three leaves should leave you with about half a cup of aloe vera gel. You can use it immediately or store it in a covered container in the fridge for a week.
Keep in mind that as it has a fast use-by date, it's best not to make a huge batch at once. Cutting off just a couple of leaves should be enough to make enough to last you for several days.
Freezing aloe vera gel
If have made a really big batch of aloe vera gel, and you know you won’t use it up in time, you have the option to freeze it. The sooner you can do so after extracting the gel, the better.
To freeze your aloe vera, the best way to store it is by pouring it into ice cube trays. If your gel is on the chunky side, you might want to pulse it with a blender or food processor a few times to make it easier to pour.
Once it’s frozen, you’ll just need to pop your aloe ice cubes out of the trays and store them in a zippered freezer bag, squeezing as much air out as possible.
Making your own aloe gel really is as simple as that. You might have thought the process required a whole scientific procedure, but you don’t need anything more than your own aloe plant, a suitable cutting tool, and a place to store the gel in your fridge. If you’ve never made aloe vera gel before, give it a try! The process is both enjoyable and rewarding, as you get to benefit from the aloe gel that you harvest.
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