By Traci Joy

Aloe vera plants have been praised for thousands of years for their health benefits. The insides of the leaves have been used to treat burns, fight psoriasis and other skin problems and provide general relief to skin irritation. The gel of the aloe vera plant is located in the thick, inner parts of the leaf. Most of the healing benefits of aloe vera are found in this gel. There is a way to harvest the gel so you are not wasting any of your plant or the benefits it brings. Following a simple procedure will allow you to extract the gel and store it for future use.

Aloe Vera Plant

Step 1

Choose an aloe vera leaf that you want to harvest gel from. The wider, thicker leaves will contain more gel which is in the middle of the stalk.

Step 2

Cut the leaf at its base, close to the ground or dirt. Cut on an angle as if you are filleting a piece of meat.

Step 3

Stand the leaf or leaves upright in a cup or bowl to allow the sap to drain. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Step 4

Lay the leaf flat on a cutting board, and cut off the tip about 1/2 an inch down. Cut off the ragged edges that go down the length of the leaf on both sides. Cut off just enough to take the edges off, but don't go into the leaf further than you have to.

Step 5

Take the fillet knife and slice the leaf in half lengthwise from top to bottom.

Step 6

Lay the two leaf halves down next to each other, with the inside facing up.

Step 7

Take the spoon and scrape the gel off the inside of the leaf. Do not scrape too hard, as you do not want to gather the sap from the leaf skin.

Step 8

Place the gel into a jar and store it in the refrigerator. Keep it out of the light as much as possible to prevent spoilage. In the refrigerator, the aloe vera gel will last for up to 6 months.