Aloe vera is often touted as the holy-grail product when it comes to DIY skincare, and rightly so. I used aloe vera on my face religiously every night as a gawky teenager desperate to get rid of pimples that were sometimes rusty red, sometimes big and white, and sometimes like a small volcano ready to explode. For the most part, it did work.
Studies have shown that using aloe vera on the skin for extended periods makes our skin softer and healthier. Its usage to treat burns and acne has been documented widely.
So, if you’ve decided to add aloe vera to your skincare regime, you probably know that it’s predisposed to be used wastefully, thanks to its big, succulent leaves arranged in a rosette.
In this blog, I’ll let you in on how to store cut aloe vera – the entire leaf, the gel, everything. You can then reap its benefits in a sustainable fashion.
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How To Store Cut Aloe Vera?
To store cut aloe vera leaves for later use, you first must keep the leaf moist by wrapping the cut end tightly in a moisture-retentive covering like plastic or beeswax wrap. Next, tuck the entire leaf into a ziploc or plastic bag, seal it, and stash it in the fridge’s crisper drawer.
If you’re just going to store aloe vera gel, keep it in an airtight container. It’s good to use up to a week.
If you want to increase the gel’s shelf life, you can add preservatives like vitamins C and E that will also benefit your skin at the same time.
According to Healthline, for every ¼ cup (60ml) of aloe vera gel, you need to add 500mg of powdered vitamin C or 400 International Units (IU) of powdered vitamin E.
To incorporate the nutritional additives, add powdered vitamins directly to the blender with gel and give it a spin.
If you’re lucky, like me, to have access to aloe vera plants at home, you can always harvest the leaf to make a gel that has numerous benefits for your gut and skin.
So, let me quickly tell you how to freeze cut aloe vera leaves.
Can You Freeze Cut Aloe Vera Leaf? How?
Yes, you can freeze cut aloe vera leaf for a year without compromising quality. For this, wrap the cut leaves tightly in tin foil before placing them in an airtight container. You can then label the jar and place it in the freezer.
If you’ve wrapped and stored the leaves correctly, the leaves will remain good for over a year. I wouldn’t recommend freezing aloe vera leaves or gel for any longer than this, as this might reduce the efficacy.
Now, if you’re going to freeze aloe vera, you’ll, of course, defrost it at some point in time. To do so, remove it from the freezer and leave it to sit out at room temperature for a couple of hours.
Bear in mind that you don’t set it on the window sill to defrost, as UV rays can affect the consistency and efficacy of the gel. I’d also recommend against speeding up the thawing process in the microwave. Leave the leaves and the gel to thaw at room temperature.
And as for refreezing aloe vera leaves, I wouldn’t recommend that either. During the freezing process, ice crystals are created, affecting the gel’s moisture level.
Now, I want to make sure that you’re cutting the aloe leaves the right way and harvesting the right kind of gel.
How To Cut An Aloe Leaf?
All you need is a sharp knife and an aloe plant with enough leaves to spare. When cutting the aloe leaf, you should remove the entire leaf to keep the plant looking good. You simply have to cut the leaf as closely as possible to the main stem.
Remember, it’s always better to harvest leaves from the base of the plant since these are the older and, thus, thicker leaves. On the contrary, if you cut the tip of the leaf, you’ll end up with a brown-tipped leaf.
Once cut, hold the leaf over a small bowl to get rid of the yellowish latex that drips out. That’s not the gel – and definitely not the part of the plant you’d want to use. It’s called aloin – a mucilaginous gel that can trigger stomach ache and diarrhea. So, give it around 10-15 minutes to drain out.
How To Harvest Aloe Gel?
Once you cut the aloe leaf the right way, I’m sure the next step forward is to harvest the revered aloe gel. For this, first, place the drained leaf on a neat and even cutting surface. Next, carefully cut and lift the top of the green part away from the clear aloe fresh.
Once all done, flip the leaf over and do the same on the other side. What you’ll be left with is a clear, gooey slab of aloe. You’re all done!
If you have mistakenly harvested more aloe leaves than what you currently need, you can freeze the gel to use later. This one time, I had to harvest so many leaves from my aloe plant since it was being transplanted into a new pot. There’s no way I’d let the bounty of my treasured harvest go to waste.
So, what did I do? I froze the gel. How? Keep reading!
How To Freeze Aloe Vera Gel?
After you have sliced your aloe free from the leaves, add the gelly slabs into a blender. All you need is a few gentle pulses to change the solid aloe gel into a liquidy, pourable state.
Next, pour the gel into ice cube trays and place the tray into the freezer to freeze the gel. Then get a clearly labeled jar or a bag to store aloe cubes in the freezer. Make sure the vessel you will be using is freezer-safe.
You can store the aloe vera gel this way for more than a year. It might sound far-fetched, but it’s super handy to have a stash of frozen aloe at your disposal – from adding a couple of cubes in your smoothie to rubbing one on sunburned shoulders.
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