April 25, 2018

How to Harvest the Gel from an Aloe Leaf

Aloe-Header

Did you know that you can add aloe leaves to your Farm Fresh To You delivery when you Customize Your Box? You've probably used aloe vera gel to heal your skin after too much time in the sun, but did you know that you can also consume it? Aloe is rich in vitamins A, C and E, which can help boost your immune system. But before you can enjoy it's many benefits, you're going to need to learn how to harvest it. See below for our 5 easy steps.


Take note, the size of the aloe leaf arriving in your box is rather large (approximately 1.5 pound). Your first reaction may be to panic –  but don't fret, just follow these 5 simple steps to harvest the gel from your aloe vera leaf.

STEP 1: REMOVE THE BASE OF THE LEAF

First, use a sharp knife to cut the base off the leaf off at a slight angle. You may also want to remove the pointed tip.

Cut-Off-Ends

STEP 2: DRAIN THE ALOIN FROM THE LEAF 

Let the aloe leaf stand upright in a container or in your sink for about 10 minutes to let the yellow sap drain out. This sap is called aloin, and while it is not toxic, it has a very bitter taste and may cause stomach discomfort, so it is best to dispose of it.


Drain-Aloe-Leaf

STEP 3: REMOVE SERRATED EDGES

Use a sharp knife to cut the serrated edges of the leaf off.

Cut-Serrated-Edges

STEP 4: REMOVE THE TOP OUTER LAYER

Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the thin outer layer from the leaf, revealing the clear jelly-like substance inside. We found it was easiest to switch from a larger knife to a paring knife for this step, but any sharp knife will do. Note: Be careful! The aloe will be very slippery.

Remove-Thin-Outer-Layer

At this point, you can use the same technique to cut off the bottom layer of the leaf, or you can use a spoon to gently scoop out the clear substance.

Harvesting-Aloe

STEP 5: HARVEST ALOE GEL & STORE

Remove any remaining green pieces of the leaf. If you notice any reddish-brown remnants of the aloin sap, you can cut it out of the gel or simply rinse it off.

Holding-Aloe


Cut the aloe gel into 1-inch cubes for easy storage and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In many cases, you will likely want to puree the aloe gel in a blender for use in a face mask or to mix into your favorite juice or smoothie. Check out our blog post to learn more about our three favorite ways to use fresh aloe vera gel.

Storing-Aloe

HOW TO STORE

The leaf itself will stay fresh for weeks in the refrigerator. Once you have harvested and pureed the aloe, it is best consumed fresh, so you may want to cut off 1-inch pieces of the leaf and use as needed. If you are using the pureed aloe for cosmetic and topical use, you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For longer storage, scoop the aloe gel into an ice cube tray and freeze for later use.

How To Add Aloe to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to your online farm stand to customize your upcoming delivery. The market is open from noon on Thursday until 2 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day.

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.