An aloe vera plant has three layers:
- Layer 1: The thick, green outer rind
- Layer 2: The yellow sap or latex
- Layer 3: The central core or gel
- Aloe vera (one large leaf should be enough for a single use)
I think it's always best to use freshly made aloe vera juice so don't make more than you can use over a two week period. After you've used this recipe a few times you will see what quantities work.
- Wear latex gloves if you have them.
- Break off a few leaves from the aloe vera plant, Aloe Barbadensis. The leaves closer to the ground are more mature and richer in minerals so go for those.
- Wash the leaves to get rid of any dirt.
- Using a shape knife peel off as much of the green, thorny rind as is possible as well as the yellow layer that is just beneath the rind.
- Place what remains in a blender with some water.
- Blend well, then strain to remove any bits.
Keep in the fridge and use within two weeks.
- Which leaves should you choose? Use the leaves closest to the ground. Of those, if the tips of the leaves are dry, the leaf is ripe for picking.
- What's the best way to cut the rind off? Cut the sides off, then the top and bottom. Alternatively, slice the leaf down the middle and fillet the gel out.
- How long can you keep the leaves for? After you've picked the leaves use them within 24 to 48 hours, ideally immediately, as they will start deteriorating.
- What can you use the rind and latex for? The rind can be used as compost. The yellow sap or latex can irritate skin and is toxic to pets so just dispose of it; it's used as an ingredient in laxatives and if you consume it internally you can get diarrhoea.