The Art of Extraction – How to Remove Aloe Vera Gel

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For thousands of years, the aloe plant has been praised for it’s healing benefits. The gel contained in the leaves of this plant is the most important part. This part is what is known as aloe vera and this is where most of the medicinal properties are found. Following a simple procedure will allow you to harvest the gel so that you’re not wasting any of your plant or it’s health benefits. Here are some instructions on how to remove aloe vera gel.

WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ALOE PLANT
Each aloe leaf is made up of four layers. The first layer is the rind. This is the hard greenish grey outer protective layer of the leaf. The second layer consists of a bitter liquid called sap. This is located under the rind and surrounds the gel. The sap protects the aloe plant from being eaten by animals. The third layer contains mucilage gel which is known as the inner leaf area. And finally, the fourth layer is where the aloe vera is located. This is also called the inner gel or gel fillet. If you are using aloe vera gel internally, take care to remove any mucilage gel and sap and use only the inner gel. These parts are a laxative and may cause diarrhea.

THE HARVESTING PROCESS
Step 1: Begin by cutting a leaf from your plant. Choose a large, healthy outer leaf that’s growing toward the bottom of your plant. Also pick a leaf that’s thick and green as the thicker leaves contain more gel. When you cut, do so at an angle and as close to the dirt/ground as possible.

Step 2: After cutting the leaf, stand it upright in a cup or bowl to drain the sap. Do this for 15 minutes.

Step 3: To fillet the aloe leaf, begin with a thick leaf on the cutting board. You will want to use a serrated knife with some flexibility in the blade.

Step 4: Slice off the top skin layer of the leaf. Start from the thick end and work your way to towards the thin end of your aloe piece. Hold your knife parallel to the cutting board, being careful not to cut off too much of the aloe vera gel.

Step 5: Then cut away the 2 side pieces of the leaf. Do this by holding the knife at a 45 degree angle to the board. Use a saw cutting motion and move along the length of the leaf. Remove one side of the leaf skin at a time. When you’re done, you’ll be left with the gel that’s attached to the bottom skin.

Step 6: Holding your knife parallel to the cutting board, gently slice away the gel from the bottom layer of the skin. Large aloe leaves may be slightly concave, so you might have to press down on the gel and flatten it against the board.

And voila! You are now looking at what appears to closely resemble a large piece of gelatin. Once harvested, you can put your aloe vera gel in a jar and store it in the refrigerator. To prevent spoilage, use a dark colored jar as this will help keep out light. You can also add a drop of grapefruit extract to prevent discoloration. You can use this gel to treat many skin conditions or blend it in smoothies to heal yourself internally. The possibilities are endless!

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