Aloe vera leaves are used for a variety of purposes – they can be applied topically to help relieve sunburned skin, they can be used as a face and hair mask, and they can even be consumed in the form of a drink to reap their health benefits. You can buy aloe vera leaves at the convenience store or harvest them yourself from aloe vera plants at home. Well, after the leaves are there, what should you do? You can cut, peel, and freeze it as a stock, or even mix it with honey to use as a facial and hair moisturizer.
Method 1 of 3: Storing Aloe Vera Leaves Whole
Step 1. Store the whole aloe vera leaf in the refrigerator for 4-5 days
Wrap the leaves in plastic wrap and cover the open base, where the leaves were cut from the plant. Once ready to use, just open the package and start the gel extraction process.
Use a permanent marker to write the date on the plastic wrap so you remember how long the aloe was stored before being used
Step 2. Freeze the aloe vera leaves for longer storage
Take aloe vera, put it in a special plastic bag in the refrigerator, and store it in the freezer. Aloe vera leaves will have the best consistency and taste (if you want to eat them) if they are used for a maximum of 6-8 months, although technically aloe vera will still be in good condition even if it is stored longer than that.
For extra protection, you can pack it in plastic wrap before putting it in a bag
Step 3. Defrost the frozen aloe vera leaf by placing it on the table
Let stand until the leaves reach room temperature which will take about 2-3 hours, depending on the size.
Never thaw frozen aloe vera leaves in the microwave as this will change the consistency of the gel and drastically reduce its health benefits
Method 2 of 3: Extracting and Storing Aloe Vera Gel
Step 1. Rinse the aloe vera leaf under cold water
Prepare leaves that you buy at the convenience store or that are cut from plants you have at home. Rinse off any visible dirt or any remaining sticky material that may be on the leaves. Dry with a rag.
If you are using freshly cut leaves from plants at home, place them upright in a glass or jar for about 15 minutes before bringing them in. This will cause aloin (a yellow/red crystalline compound with a bitter taste) to come out of the leaves. Aloin can cause diarrhea and other stomach problems if consumed
Step 2. Cut off the tips and bases of the leaves
Use a clean cutting board and sharp knife to cut off the ends and bases (where the leaves originally attach to the plant). These parts generally don't contain a lot of gel that can be used.
Be careful when handling the aloe vera leaf, not to puncture the thorns along the edge of the leaf
Step 3. Slice and remove both prickly edges of the leaf
Place the aloe vera leaf evenly on the cutting board. After that, slice off the prickly edges by running a knife along the side of the leaf. Remove the fleshy part of the leaves as little as possible.
Using a smaller, sharper knife will give you more control than a larger knife
Step 4. Peel the top and bottom skin of the leaves using a vegetable peeler
Lay the leaves evenly on the cutting board. Take a vegetable peeler and start peeling the skin off the leaves from top to bottom. Continue all the way to the base of the leaf, removing the outer skin a little at a time until everything is clean. Turn the leaf over and repeat the stripping process on that side.
- When you're done, the entire green peel should be clean, leaving only the center of the leaf an opaque gel.
- If there are small green streaks that you can't remove with a vegetable peeler, use a knife to carefully slice them.
- Aloe vera gel will feel sticky and a little slimy. Keep the hand holding the vegetable peeler or knife dry to prevent slipping.
Step 5. Cut the raw aloe vera gel into cubes
Take a knife and slice aloe vera into small, equal-sized dice. Be careful not to scratch your hands. At this stage, you can determine what size gel you want. The small diced gel is perfect for making smoothies or drinks later.
You can leave the diced gel on the cutting board while you clean the entire leaf skin, or you can put it in a small, clean bowl and set it aside
Step 6. Store fresh aloe vera gel in the refrigerator for up to 10 days
Place the gel in a clean airtight container and store it in the refrigerator to use in beauty products, drinks and smoothies, as well as to treat sunburned skin.
- Label the container so you know when it expires.
- If the gel is nearing its expiration date which is the tenth day, freeze the rest so that nothing is wasted.
Step 7. Put the gel in a small sealed bag if you want to freeze it
Depending on what you're using it for (other than for smoothies or drinks, beauty products, or to get rid of burns), store aloe vera gel in a small resealable bag.
- Sometimes aloe vera changes color when frozen. Add vitamin E to prevent it.
- You can also blend sliced aloe vera gel for 30 seconds and pour it into ice cube molds.
- Label the bag with the product description and the date it was placed in the freezer.
Step 8. Store aloe vera in the freezer for up to 8 months
When you put the first bag in the freezer, don't put anything else on it so the gel doesn't squish and freeze in an odd shape.
If you're freezing multiple bags, don't cram too many bags into one tight space. Once frozen, the bags will squeeze together and stick together, making them difficult to separate when you're about to pick one up later
Step 9. Defrost frozen aloe by placing it on the table, or use it frozen
You can add a few diced aloe vera gel to make a smoothie. Alternatively, melt it and mix it with honey or coconut oil to make a hair and facial mask. You can even apply it to sunburned skin to speed up the healing process. There are many ways to use aloe vera gel.
Never thaw frozen aloe in the microwave as it will change the consistency of the gel and reduce its health benefits
Method 3 of 3: Mixing Honey and Aloe
Step 1. Mash aloe vera in a blender for 30 seconds
Use aloe that has been peeled and cut from leaves you bought at the grocery store or harvested from plants you have at home. Turn on the blender until the consistency of aloe vera looks smooth.
You don't have to blend aloe vera, but a blender will make it easier to mix it with the honey and give the mixture a smoother texture
Step 2. Weigh out how much aloe vera gel is there
Use a food scale or measuring cup to find out how much gel you are using. Then, put the weighed gel into a clean bowl.
If you're using a food scale, just place a clean bowl on top of the scale and weigh the gel right away so you don't mess up more of the container
Step 3. Mix aloe vera with honey in equal ratio
Use 100% natural raw honey that you can buy at a health food store or perhaps at your local convenience store. Place the honey in a bowl with aloe vera and use a spoon to stir until it has a smooth consistency.
- Honey is a great product for preserving aloe vera because it never goes stale. Mix aloe vera and honey in equal ratios to extend the shelf life of the gel for longer.
- Honey is also great for preserving raw, almost expired aloe vera gel.
Step 4. Store the aloe vera and honey mixture in an airtight glass container for up to 3 years
Place in a cool dry place. Make sure the container is clean and dry before use.
You can also divide the aloe vera and honey mixture into small glass jars and give it as a gift. Create cute labels and combine them with other beauty care products to make an elegant spa package gift
Step 5. Apply a mixture of aloe vera and honey on your face or add it to a drink
You can apply this mixture to your hair as a moisturizing mask. You can also use it as a sweetener for hot tea or add it to your morning smoothie to sweeten the taste a little.
You can even bake a cake with this ingredient. If any recipe calls for honey, stay; just replace it with a mixture of aloe vera and honey
- Add lemon juice to fresh aloe vera gel to slightly extend the shelf life and give it a fresh citrus scent.
- You can find aloe vera leaves at health food stores, convenience stores, or buy the plant so you can harvest your own aloe leaves whenever you need them.