Aloe vera is a versatile plant with leaves that you can use as food or as medicine. Whether you use leaves that you buy from the grocery store or you get them from a plant in your garden, you may find yourself with more aloe than you need right now. What are the best ways to store leftover aloe vera? Like any other green plant, it has a relatively short shelf life when stored in the open air at room temperature. Here are some effective aloe vera storage options.
In the refrigerator
Like any other vegetable, you can keep whole aloe vera leaves in the refrigerator for a few days if you cover it properly. Simply wrap the leaves in plastic to prevent exposure to air and make sure to re-wrap it properly every time you take a piece out. Alternatively, you can wrap each leaf separately if you only use one at a time. The objective of wrapping aloe leaves properly is to keep them in an airtight environment to prevent oxidation.
If your aloe vera is in juice form, you will want to store it for a short a time as possible before drinking it. Keep it in your refrigerator only for the hour or so it will take to get cold.
Acidity plus refrigeration can help your aloe vera gel to last longer. Add lemon juice to the aloe vera gel and blend them until they are liquefied. Store the liquid gel and lemon juice mixture in the refrigerator.
Remove the gel
If the only part of the aloe vera leaf that you plan on using is the gel, then you can simply store it and discard the rest. The gel is the most versatile part of the aloe vera plant. Cut off the pointed tip of the aloe vera leaf along with the two thorned sides. You want only the meatiest part of the leaf. Split the leaf and scrape the clear inner part out using a spoon or a knife. Wash the gel off to remove all traces of the yellow latex, which can cause diarrhea if you consume it. Next, you have a couple of options for storing the gel: room temperature or frozen.
Freeze the gel
If you choose to freeze the gel, cut it into serving-sized pieces and place them on a cookie sheet. Stick the cookie sheet in your freezer for 30 minutes or so before bagging up the pieces of aloe vera gel. This keeps the pieces of gel separate even after they freeze so that you won’t have to thaw out a frozen clump to get what you need.
When you thaw out frozen aloe vera, let it warm up gradually by leaving it at room temperature. Don’t try to speed things up with the microwave or with hot water. Heat will destroy many of the beneficial compounds contained in aloe.
Store the gel in honey
If you want to store aloe vera gel at room temperature, then your best bet will be to store it in honey. As you may already know, honey’s shelf life is basically unlimited as it does not spoil. Simply cover the pieces of gel in honey and store them in an airtight container. You can use this aloe vera to make smoothies.