How To Make Your Own Aloe Vera Juice
Freshly made aloe gel and juice are the best because many phytochemicals lose their potency as the juice gets processed. If you grow a few plants, you can make your own juice as and when you require it. Aloe vera is one of the easiest plants to grow, so you really have no excuse for not having freshly made aloe vera juice.
Aloe vera is a heat and drought tolerant succulent. It’s called the Lily of the Desert for that reason, but it can pretty much grow anywhere irrespective of your gardening zone. If your area has freezing winters, grow the aloe plants in pots. When it gets too cold, just bring the pots indoors and keep them near a window or under a grow lamp. For a regular supply of thick, succulent, leaves for juicing, you should have several plants.
One issue in growing Aloe vera on your own is the difficulty of getting the right plant. There are several aloes that look very similar, but you need to have nothing but the Aloe vera species to enjoy all the health benefits it offers.
Another species called Aloe arborescens also has medicinal properties, while the purgative ‘bitter aloes’ is obtained from the sap of Aloe ferox. Aloe vera usually has yellow flowers, but flower color cannot be the basis for determining the right aloe since there are many natural and man-made hybrid varieties around. So, get your plants from a reliable source.
Grow your aloe plants in all purpose potting soil with some extra sand or perlite added to ensure good drainage. Aloes can take quite a lot of neglect, but not water logging. The juvenile plants have white spots on the leaves, but mature plants have solid dull green color.
You can start harvesting the lower leaves for juicing once the plants have 8-10 thick, fleshy, mature leaves. Make the cuts close to the base with a sharp knife and allow the sap to ooze out. We are going to use the fleshy meat of the leaves, not the sap.
Wash the leaf and place it on a plate the flat side up. Using a sharp knife, slice off the top rind to expose the clear meat underneath. Scrape it out with a spoon, and you have the clear pulp of Aloe vera. It is colorless unless you have scraped off a bit of the rind too.
Fresh Aloe vera gel has a mild, watery taste with the slightest hint of sharpness, neither overly bitter nor sour. You can have around one to two tablespoons at a time, plain or mixed with water, lemonade, coconut water or fruit/vegetable juices.
If you want to make larger quantities and refrigerate, cut the leaves into 3” sections and remove the edges. Remove the rind from both sides to get the transparent ‘fillets’. Liquidize them and store in glass jars for up to a week.
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