The sap of the Aloe Vera plant has been used for its healing properties for thousands of years.
Today, this ancient plant makes appearances everywhere from self care blogs to ingredient labels at your favorite health food store. But you don’t need to spend a pretty penny to enjoy the benefits of this trendy gel. Once you’ve got an aloe plant in your home, you’ve got endless access!
- Find the right leaf. Aloe Vera grows its new leaves from the center, so you’ll want to harvest the outermost leaves. Since they’re also the oldest, they should be the largest and contain the most gel. Choose a nice plump leaf to start with.
- Cut the leaf. Using a very sharp knife (we suggest a filet knife if you have one) cut as close to the base of the plant as you can. The less leaf left on the base, the better.
- Drain the aloin. In addition to the clear gel, aloe vera leaves contain aloin, a yellow sap that can cause digestion issues if ingested. (Even if you don’t plan on ingesting the aloe, we recommend removing it.) You can remove it by placing your aloe leaf, cut side down, in a cup and let it drain for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the outer shell. Using your sharp knife, lay your aloe leaf on a cutting board and carefully slice away the top outer layer of the leaf. Keep it close to the edge so you can preserve as much gel as possible.
- Remove the gel. Take your knife and carefully slice between the bottom leaf and the gel. The gel is solid, so you should be able to pick it up and separate it from the leaf.
Ta da! You’ve successfully harvested your aloe vera gel. Now what? There’s a bunch of uses for your raw aloe vera. Try out this leave-in conditioner and hair mask , or just apply it directly to your skin for some sunburn relief. If you don’t plan on using your raw aloe right away, we recommend either freezing it or keeping it in the fridge.
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on using your aloe as sunburn relief, keeping it in the fridge will provide extra relief on your hot skin. Happy harvesting!