During the process of harvesting aloe vera leaves, special care must be taken since Aloe leaves contain a yellowish sap, called aloin, which can be very bitter and cause some stomach upset in some people. With this in mind, it is necessary to know how to harvest and store aloe vera at home in order to take advantage of all its benefits.
How to harvest and store Aloe Vera
Everyone knows that aloe vera is great for cuts and burns, and even bug bites. It has been called the “first aid plant”. The gentle aloe vera gel inside the thick, succulent leaves of this plant is an amazing natural care product for skin, hair, and overall health as well.
Aloe Vera benefits
- It is an antioxidant and could prevent cancer, especially colon cancer.
- Reduces and stops inflammation, both internally and externally.
- It oxygenates the blood and energizes the cells, hydrating the skin and helping to repair the skin tissue.
- Heals internal digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, acid reflux, this is possible as aloe vera helps to clean the intestinal tract.
- It reduces the risk factor for strokes and heart attacks, removes the “stickiness” from the blood and increases its oxidation, as well as circulation.
- It alkalizes the body, helping to balance excessively acidic eating habits.
- Increases cardiovascular performance and physical endurance.
- Stabilizes blood pressure and reduces triglycerides.
- You can treat diabetes with aloe vera as it can help lower blood glucose.
The aloe vera harvesting process
When you are ready to harvest the gel from an aloe leaf, you should choose an outer leaf that is healthy and growing towards the bottom of the plant. To remove the leaf, it is cut at an angle close to the base of the plant. Plants that are too immature for harvest will not have leaves that grow close to the ground.
Once the leaf of the plant is cut, place it upright in a container at a slightly tilted position. Let the leaf stay in position for about 10 to 12 minutes, allowing the sap to drain off the leaf.
Lay the aloe vera leaf on a flat surface, like a cutting board. Carefully cut off the tip of the blade and the pointed edges on both sides with a very sharp knife. Make sure to cut both sides of the sheet all the way from top to bottom. Separate the front and back of the sheet by cutting lengthwise from the inside.
Take out both the slimy mucilage gel and the inner clear gel that appears more like a solid gel. For most leaves, a spoon is effective in removing the gel. If the blade is very large, a butter knife may work better. When removing the gel, light but firm pressure is important, taking care not to remove any remaining sap.
How to store aloe vera
Aloe vera can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic container that is safe for food storage or in a glass container. The best option is a dark green or brown glass container, which helps keep light out. As extra information, you can check what are the benefits of freezing aloe vera.
Many people add a drop of vitamin E and a small amount of citric acid powder to prevent discoloration and make the aloe vera gel last longer. Instead of citric acid powder, you can simply use a drop of grapefruit seed extract. With this gel you can prepare a large number of home remedies including aloe vera juice, which can be used as a medicinal treatment.