How to Select Aloe
The liquid stored in the leaves and stems allow the aloe plant to survive in hot, dry climates. Choose plants or leaves that are firm and in colours ranging from pale grey to bright, grassy green. Avoid aloe with nicks or scratches on the leaves, but pale stripes or spots on the leaves are normal.
How to Store Aloe
It you want to buy a plant, you’ll find they are very easy to care for. Water deeply only when the surface soil is dry, to prevent rot. You’ll also have to water less frequently in winter than summer months. If leaves are curling, the plant needs more water. Once a leaf is cut from the plant for use, any leftover leaf or gel can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, although it is always best when used fresh.
You can also buy large aloe leaves at grocery stores. Some recommend that you can store the leaves in your fridge for up to one year but we’d suggest using the gel within 20-25 days. You can tell the leaf is past best when it turns reddish brown. If you only want to use a small portion, simply cut off what you need from the thicker base of the leaf, and store the rest in the fridge still in the rind of the leaf to help preserve the rest of the extract. You can add some vitamin E (from gel capsules) or citric acid powder to the exposed part of the plant to prevent discolouration and help preserve the extract.
Keep any extracted gel covered in the fridge within two days. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice can also help prevent discolouration.
How to Freeze Aloe
Scoop the gel out from the leaf and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or storage container and keep frozen for up to six months. Soothing aloe ice cubes are handy for treating burns and scrapes at home. Wrap the frozen aloe cubes in a thin towel and hold against the burn. As the cube melts, it’ll be absorbed into the fabric resting on your skin.