When used topically, Aloe vera is known for its incredible healing powers, but did you know that you can eat aloe vera, too? It’s a potent superfood that heals you from the inside out! The benefits are remarkable—studies show that regularly consuming the inner gel of the aloe plant can result in all sorts of health improvements, including:
- Clearer skin
- Improved digestion
- Heartburn relief
- A boost in antioxidants to fight cancer-causing free radicals
- Balanced gut flora
- Improved liver function
Aloe vera isn’t just for sunburn relief! There are so many ingenious ways to use this fascinating plant.
Can Aloe Vera Be Used in Cooking?
Yes! But it’s important to properly clean and prepare the aloe vera gel to achieve the best flavor and prevent a possible tummy ache. Use a sharp knife to slice open your aloe leaves lengthwise, then carve out slices of the inner gel. The gel has a yellow coating called “latex,” which you’ll need to remove. The latex has a bitter taste and isn’t healthy if consumed in large amounts, so try to trim off any excess latex and rinse it off in the sink, careful not to drop the slippery gel.
Once you’ve got your rinsed, latex-free aloe gel prepared, you’re ready to add it into some healthy, ultra-fresh recipes! Here are three delicious dishes that will help hydrate, nourish and repair your body.
Aloe Vera Popsicles
A frosty aloe vera popsicle on a hot day will cool you down and quench your thirst instantly. Beat the Fort Lauderdale heat with these ice-cold treats!
- ½ cup of rinsed aloe vera gel
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
- Juice of one lime
- Zest of one lime
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 1 tbsp of honey or agave syrup
Toss all the ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth, then pour it into popsicle molds! Freeze it, then run the plastic base under warm water to release the popsicles from their molds.
Vegan Chocolate Aloe Ice Cream
This dairy-free ice cream has a mild sweetness and plenty of cocoa to satisfy your dessert cravings, but it’s packed with antioxidants, nutrients, fiber, and plant protein. Store-bought ice cream can’t quite say the same!
- 1 cup of raw cashews
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao nibs
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 4 tbsp of rinsed aloe vera gel
Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend for 1–2 minutes until smooth and frothy. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover with plastic, then freeze for 4+ hours. When you’re ready to serve it, remove it from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes, so it softens up a bit.
Thai Mango Shrimp and Aloe Vera Salad
This exotic salad is anything but bland—it’s got so much flavor, and it will help energize you, effectively preventing the dreaded post-lunch brain fog.
- The gel of one large aloe vera leaf, rinsed and sliced into chopstick-sized noodles
- ½ of one cucumber, spiralized
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 unripe mango, sliced into thin strips
- 8–10 large, cooked shrimps
- 1 handful of basil, chopped
- 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp of chopped peanuts
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
Place the aloe vera “noodles” and 1 tbsp of salt into a bowl. Gently mix the noodles with your hands, so they’re salted, then rinse the noodles under the faucet to remove any slimy coating.
Next, fill a bowl with ice and cold water. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the ice bath, and toss the remaining rind in there too. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, blanch the aloe noodles for two minutes, and immediately transfer them to the lime ice bath.
Mix all the dressing ingredients, then add the shrimp, mango, carrot, aloe and cucumber. Gently toss to coat and let it sit for five minutes to soak up the flavor. Next, add the basil and cilantro. Sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top and it’s ready to serve!
Want to grow some aloe vera at home to take advantage of its incredible healing powers? Living Color Garden Center has an excellent selection of aloe vera in Fort Lauderdale, plus plenty of other amazing edible plants to grow in your garden!