Aloe Vera plants are hardy and an adorable addition to any container garden. However, they are also incredibly useful! I purchased a tiny little aloe vera plant years ago and named him Octo. He began to flourish and grow like crazy so I began to research how I could make use of the wonderful aloe inside each leaf. After pouring over tons of online material, I came up with this method which is a mishmash of lots of what I read!
To remove the leaves, you can either slice them off close to the stalk with a sharp knife or just tear or snap them off! I have tried both methods and they both work, so I believe it is personal preference. The plant heals fine either way!
Once you get the leaves inside, take them to your sink and rinse them off!
I then use scissors to clip off the ends that were very close to the stalk! It makes it a lot easier to get to the actual harvesting process.
Snipping the ends also allows the leaves to drain of a yellow liquid called aloin. It is stinky and from what I’ve read, not very good for you. It can make you sick if ingested. I do suggest you do your own research. Let the aloe vera drain vertically for about 10-15 minutes! Then you should be in the all clear.
I just prop the leaves up in a cup and let them drain that way!
Here is what a result of the draining looks like! It is gross and smells even worse!
I go ahead and rinse the leaves again because, eww, and then I transfer them to the cutting mat! If you’re sensitive to pokey things, it can be best to remove the jagged edges of the leaves, but I have never found them that sharp. Use a very sharp knife to cut the leaf in half up the middle, like sandwich bread.
Now it starts to smell fresh and clean like aloe should smell! Once they’re cut down the middle, I have found it works best to take a spoon and just start scraping! Hold down the skin with one hand and scrape hard with the other. The aloe should come right up!
It is slippery and full of moisturizing goodness!
Now, once you’ve scooped all the aloe out of the skins, place it in a dry jar that is able to be air tight. Then, you can store it in the fridge for up to two months! Don’t forget about it though, because if you do, it will grow this gross reddish mold. I did that once. Ick!
Clean up is a breeze! Brush all the plant matter into the trash bin, put the silverware and mat into the dishwasher, and don’t worry about washing your hands – just rub the aloe in! Every time I harvest aloe, my hands are SO soft after!
Go get an aloe plant! Use it to treat sun burns, to make hair masks, to moisturize your skin! It has so many uses, and now you have an easy way to harvest your own!